Condos: The Perfect Home Choice For Young, First-Time Home Buyers

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Condos: The Perfect Home Choice For Young, First-Time Home Buyers

When you picture your first home, an image of a large house on a big piece of property might come to mind. But for young home buyers in their 20s and 30s, there’s another kind of home that is often a better choice: a condominium. Here’s a closer look at condo-style homes and why they work so well for people in your situation. What is a condo? A condominium, or condo, is a piece of real estate that’s divided into units. Each of the units is sold and owned separately. In large cities, a condo may be a single building — and every individual living space inside that building has a different owner. In more suburban areas, condos may be individual townhomes in a plot of land. In a physical sense, a condo is similar to an apartment. However, instead of renting the units, each person in the condo community owns their unit. What are the benefits of a condo for a young, first-time buyer? Since condos vary widely, each condo community is going to offer its own benefits. One community may be in the perfect location relative to your job, and another may be an attractive option because you love the brick exteriors. In general, however, condo communities offer these benefits. You’ll build equity. If you enjoy living in an apartment community setting, you may be tempted to just keep renting for years to come. However, when you pay rent, you’re basically paying someone else’s mortgage. When you purchase a condo, you get to enjoy a similar style of living, but when you pay your mortgage each month, you’ll be building equity. If you decide to move at some point, you can sell the condo — and assuming you get a decent price, you”ll get to keep that equity. Someone else does the yard work. When you’re young and trying to build your career and family, you don’t always have a lot of time to spare. When you live in a condo, the condo association typically takes care of all the lawn mowing, gardening, snow removal, and other landscaping and outdoor-related tasks. This allows you to live in a beautifully landscaped place without dedicating the time. You’ll pay a condo association fee each month to cover these services. You can customize the interior of your home without worrying about the exterior. In many condo communities, you won’t be responsible for tasks like maintaining the roof and siding. You’re only responsible for the interior. Tasks like painting and having carpet replaced are easier to tackle than outdoor projects. Having the flexibility to change the color of your walls and carpet (which you don’t usually have in an apartment) makes the space feel more like your own. However, you won’t be overwhelmed with the responsibility of maintaining everything as you would in a single-family home. Most condo communities have a vibrant social scene. When you move into a single-family home in a suburb or in the country, it can be hard to meet others and make friends. Condo communities make it much easier to develop and maintain a social life. Many communities have shared amenities like a pool or fitness center where you can meet others who share your interest. There may even be organized events like book clubs and...

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What You Should Do to Make the Home-Inspection Process Work for You

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Should Do to Make the Home-Inspection Process Work for You

Getting a home inspection when you are seriously considering a home for sale is an important step to take, but it isn’t enough to simply hire the first inspector you find. Instead, you will need to be actively involved in the process all the way from selecting an inspector through receiving the final report. Below are several things that you should do to make the inspection process work for you. Find a qualified inspector The first step is to hire an inspector who has the knowledge, skills, and training to perform a thorough inspection. While some states have regulations in place to govern the profession of home inspection, others may not have specific education or practical experience requirements. If that is the case in your state, then you need to be sure to know how to adequately research prospective inspectors to determine if they are right for the job. A few questions that you should ask inspector candidates include: What type of experience have you had with home construction? What are formal training have you had in the inspection profession? Are you a member of any professional inspection organizations, and if so, which ones? Will you provide a list of references drawn from former clients? Participate in the home inspection itself Once you have hired a qualified home inspector and made the appointment for the inspection, you should make every effort to attend the inspection and be an active participant. While you may not feel you have anything to offer during the inspection process, your presence indicates to the inspector that you treat the inspection seriously and are concerned about its outcome. In addition, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector as they work to describe what they are doing and what they see. Be sure they explain in laymen’s terms and are able to clarify any confusing or jargon-loaded explanations. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable with a particular part of the process or are concerned the inspector has missed something, then ask the inspector to go back and address your concerns. Don’t be embarrassed, as the inspector is working for you and will be glad to provide answers to your questions. Hire an expert if necessary While home inspectors are expected to have broad knowledge of construction, appliances, flooring, and other aspects pertaining to houses in general, don’t be surprised if they make a recommendation that an expert follow up with a closer look. For example, an inspector might recommend an HVAC technician perform an analysis of the central air conditioning and heating system if something doesn’t seem to be working properly. Similar experts might be called upon in cases where there may be roof damage, wiring problems, cracks in the foundation, or pest-related damage. Of course, you will need to pay for additional experts to conduct their own evaluations, but the small investment is worth it should they uncover problems that will require expensive repairs. Obtain and read a copy of the inspection report While most home inspectors will provide a report directly to the home buyer, be sure that you actually read the report in its entirety and don’t allow it to simply sit in the real-estate agent’s file. Your agent will provide a synopsis of its contents, but it is in your own...

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Three Low-Cost Things You Can Do To Stage Your Home For Buyers

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Low-Cost Things You Can Do To Stage Your Home For Buyers

If you are in the process of selling a home or are about to list one for sale, then you probably understand the importance of making your property attractive to would-be buyers. This is accomplished by “staging your home”, a description for the pre-sale preparation performed by the homeowner. While there are a number of things you can do to stage a home for sale, many of them are costly and ultimately take away from the bottom line when selling your home. The good news is that there are things you can do to stage your home without it costing you a fortune in the process. Below is a list of three specific things you can do to stage your home at low or no expense: Cover nail holes in walls Pictures and decorative wall hangings can be beautiful, but they also tend to leave walls looking like pin cushions once you remove them. While you can just leave your items hanging on the wall, it is a good practice to remove the items to help make the walls larger. That means you will need to figure out how to cover the holes during the showing. Fortunately, temporarily covering holes in the plaster or sheetrock isn’t hard; all you need is shoe wax for your walls. If you are covering pinholes in lighter walls, then you will need to use a natural finish, canned shoe wax-based polish. For darker walls, choose either a brown or cordovan wax. The match between the polish and surrounding wall color doesn’t need to be perfect since you are covering small holes; just be sure it is somewhat approximate. To cover the pinholes, use a butter knife to scoop out a small amount of the wax and push it into the nail holes. Try to avoid spreading too much extra around the outside of the holes. Once you apply the polish, use the edge of a credit card or other similar plastic card to scrape away the excess wax. Landscape addition by subtraction A lush, full garden or landscaping arrangement adds a lot to the front of a home for sale and ups its curb appeal. However, adding new landscape plants costs a substantial amount of money and can be impractical due to the short timeline involved with selling a home. That’s why you should look at your existing landscape and consider what you can do to improve it by trimming and removing plants. In many cases, landscapes become overcrowded with fast-growing plants, or some plants become shelters that make it difficult to trim the growth of unsightly weeds. An unkempt landscape is a big turn-off to potential buyers, so don’t hesitate to take a shovel or pruning saw to it. When making considerations about specific actions to take, start by removing plants that aren’t healthy appearing or that are struggling for life. You don’t want buyers to think of your home as an unhealthy place, and dead plants can send a bad message to them. In addition, focus on removing the bottom limbs of bushes and trees; open space around these features helps make your property appear larger and less-cluttered. Finally, if you have any landscaping that is crowding your home’s wall or roof, fences or other structures, be sure to cut it...

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Renting a Furnished Apartment: How to Get the Furniture You Want

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Renting a Furnished Apartment: How to Get the Furniture You Want

When landlords buy property as a long-term investment, they often decide to include furniture in the rental because furnished properties attract a higher monthly rent. Unfortunately, it’s still often difficult for tenants to find the type of style and design they want to live in, particularly with landlords who don’t really care about the standard of furniture in their properties. If you want a furnished apartment that meets your style expectations, or at least want to live with newer furniture, consider the four following strategies. Set design expectations with ‘real’ examples One landlord’s idea of ‘contemporary styling’ will differ vividly from someone else’s, so when you’re talking to real estate agents, it’s always useful to offer examples of the style you’re aiming for. A talented interior designer could probably draw a detailed mock-up, but most people will need to take clippings from style magazines and newspapers. Don’t expect to find your dream home straight away. In fact, you will almost certainly need to compromise. Nonetheless, if you can give the agent a clear idea about your design tastes, he or she won’t waste your time. For example, somebody who wants minimalist chic really won’t appreciate a rustic farmhouse finish. View the finished product before you commit Landlords will normally encourage tenants to view an apartment as soon as they know it is coming up for rent. As such, you may view the apartment when it has somebody else’s furniture in it, or before the landlord can replace things. It’s fine to view the property at this stage, but you should always ask for a final inspection of the furnished apartment before you sign on the line. Once you sign the agreement, it’s much harder to get the landlord to take out the scruffy sofa he or she has supplied, and not the sty­lish new leather three-piece you expected. If the landlord wants you to pay a holding deposit, make sure you only pay the money when you are sure you want to go ahead with the tenancy. As part of this, you need to make sure you have seen everything that you will have in the apartment when you move in. You can also ask the agent to list items specifically in the paperwork, in case there’s a discrepancy later. Shop around for the landlord Many companies now offer furniture rental deals for landlords, with products to suit all tastes. Landlords don’t always have time to research furniture at length, and they may simply go for the first reasonable deal they can find. If you can help find the sort of furniture you want, a landlord is more likely to give you what you want. Research rental companies online, and visit showrooms to see the furniture up close. Some companies specialize in furniture for apartments and can supply goods that are easier to move in and out of smaller units. See if there is room for negotiation on price with the dealer, explaining that you’re looking on behalf of a potential landlord. Some dealers may have ex-showroom stock or special deals they can use to help you sweeten the transaction. A lot of landlords will appreciate the effort, so you then stand a better chance of getting what you want. Share the burden Most reasonable landlords know that it’s...

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3 Real Estate Fails For First-Time Home Buyers

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Real Estate Fails For First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a home can be a great experience. From the joy of making an investment to furnishing your very own place, it is easy to see the benefits of home ownership. Unfortunately, a large portion of home buyers make mistakes when it comes to purchasing their first piece of real estate. These mistakes may seem small at the time, but they can lead to long term financial ramifications and difficulty reselling the property. If you are part of the 38 percent of first-time buyers, using caution when starting the buying process is smart. Using this list of home-buying fails, you will have a successful first time home buying experience. Not Giving Your Credit Attention Ordering a credit report each year is smart for anyone, but if you are considering buying a house, it is an imperative task. Unfortunately, many first-time homebuyers learn their credit score is not high enough to qualify for a mortgage even though they have made minimum payments on their credit cards each month. Making these minimum payments is essential, but the act does not automatically give you excellent credit. Before venturing out to open houses, scouring the Internet, or contacting a real estate agent, order a credit report. If you have any negative accounts, consult the account holder to resolve the issue immediately. Pay attention to your debt to net ratio, as well. If your loan and credit card balances outweigh your household income, you will most likely not qualify for a home loan. Most lenders consider a score of 660 or higher good, but higher scores are necessary for receiving the best mortgage interest rate. Shopping without a Prequalification Finding an appealing home in your desired location may seem easy, but many first-time buyers do not place much consideration into the home price. You may find the perfect house, with all of the amenities you want and need, but it could be thousands of dollars over what you can realistically afford. To avoid the disappointment, be sure to contact a mortgage company for a prequalification. During the prequalification process, a mortgage consultant will require the following documents: Employment and Income Verification – Your bank may require pay stubs and tax returns from the last few years to verify employment and income. Credit Report – During the prequalification process, your lender will need to run a credit report to determine your score and debt-to-net ratio. Bank Statements – Copies of your bank statements may also be necessary. Bank statements will show your household spending habits, but also the amount you have available in your checking and savings accounts. The prequalification will ensure you know exactly how much house you can afford, so you can avoid searching for properties outside a specific price. Not Accounting for Other Expenses Most buyers know they will need a down payment to purchase their first home, but you may not be familiar with other expenses to pay at the time of closing. Of course, many sellers will pay a portion of your closing costs, but you will need to negotiate this during the initial contract. However, other expenses will arise during closing, so it is smart to prepare. If your down payment is less than 20 percent, you will need to pay part of your PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance....

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