Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/8/2018

A homebuying budget can make a world of difference, particularly for those who want to streamline a house search. If you have a budget at your disposal, you will know approximately how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Establishing a homebuying budget can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you do just that.

1. Evaluate Your Finances

Your income and savings can have far-flung effects on your ability to acquire your dream house. If you perform an in-depth review of your finances, you can find out exactly how much money you have available before you launch a house search.

It often is a good idea to consider your long-term finances as you prepare to kick off a house search, too. A house usually is a long-term investment. And if you account for your long-term finances in your homebuying budget, you may be better equipped than ever before to conduct a successful home search.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. Plus, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. Of course, if you have mortgage questions, you should address them before you submit a mortgage application. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your house search.

3. Examine Your Potential Closing Costs

Attorney fees, house inspection expenses and other closing costs may surprise some homebuyers. Yet if you understand your potential closing costs, you can plan ahead for these expenses.

Closing costs generally range between 2 percent and 5 percent of a house's purchase price. They also may be incorporated into the overall cost of a house. However, if you evaluate potential closing costs early in the homebuying journey, you can account for these expenses in your property buying budget.

As you get ready to launch a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional understands what it takes to find and acquire a terrific home at a budget-friendly price. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you accomplish your homebuying goals as quickly as possible.

If you want to purchase a house close to your office in the city, for instance, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to help you find a first-rate house in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, a real estate agent will help you hone your house search to residences that fall in line with your expectations.

Ready to launch a successful home search? Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare an effective homebuying budget. As a result, you could speed up your quest to discover and purchase your dream house.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/1/2018

When you’re searching for a home, perhaps the price of the house isn’t as important as the overall affordability of the neighborhood itself. While you have a long wish list of what you want for your property, if you search by neighborhood in order to help you fit your budget, your search may be much easier and help you turn up with a more affordable house.


Look At The Price


This seems obvious, but we mean that you should go a bit deeper. The list price of a home and reality could be two very different things. A house could be underpriced or overpriced based on the surrounding properties in the neighborhood. If you do a little research, you’ll be able to see what the going price for similar style homes is in the area and make a judgement based on that information. 


Don’t Stick To One Neighborhood


You should take a peek around and look outside of the certain neighborhood that you find to be the most desirable. If you look just a few streets away, you could find out that the prices are better and the benefits of the area are the same. 


You’ll choose your neighborhood based on what you’re looking for in your lifestyle. If you prefer to go out to eat, you’ll need to know what types of restaurants are nearby. If you like to walk in the park, being close to parks and recreation is of course important to you. 


Know The Phrase Up-And-Coming


This description of a neighborhood can sometimes seem like a bit of a reach, but many times it turns out to be true. Once undesirable neighborhoods may become the place people want to be after a certain amount of time. The problem with this is that no one can be sure as to exactly how long this will take. Potential warnings for properties described as being in an up-and-coming neighborhood would be:


  • There’s low sales in the area
  • The value of the properties has actually been decreasing
  • There’s little access to grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment


Overall, use your judgement when it comes to what’s described as a neighborhood waiting to be gentrified. You could buy your own piece of gold, or you could be on the search for a dud.


Check Your Commute Times


Match the cost of different homes that you’re looking at with the reality of the commute times that you and your family are facing. How far are the kids from school? Will you be closer to work? Will it cost you more to get to and from work in the new location? While your commute costs aren’t exactly directly correlated with real estate, it’s definitely a part of your regular budget. You also don’t want to add a lot of time to your work commute if you can help it. 


These tips should help you to make an informed decision about what neighborhood to buy a home in that will be the most cost-effective for you.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/25/2018

Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!

Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.

Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:

Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.

Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.

Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.

Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer – but it doesn’t commit you to a lender."

When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 5/28/2018

If you want to buy a house, it pays to enter the real estate market with a checklist in hand. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three things to include in your homebuying checklist.

1. Your Budget

Your budget will dictate whether you're able to afford a condo, luxury home or something in-between. As such, you'll want to assess your finances closely as you determine exactly what type of house that you can afford.

Oftentimes, it helps to get a copy of your credit report. You are eligible to receive one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you know your credit score, you can determine whether now is a good time to enter the real estate market, or whether you should improve your credit score first.

You may want to consult with several banks and credit unions too. These financial institutions can teach you about various mortgage options and help get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house and tailor your home search accordingly.

2. Where You Want to Live

Living in the suburbs is very different from residing in the city. Therefore, you'll want to consider where you want to live so that you can search for a home in specific areas.

For example, if you prefer the peace and quiet of a small town, you may want to consider houses in small towns in the state of your choice. These towns may feature dozens of available homes. Plus, in many instances, small town houses are priced lower than big city residences.

Or, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city, you can search for residences in any city, at any time. These houses likely will ensure that you'll have quick, easy access to a variety of big city attractions and landmarks.

3. Real Estate Agent

There is no telling whether you're about to enter a seller's or buyer's market, as the housing sector often fluctuates. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can increase the likelihood of a quick, successful homebuying experience, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success and will do what it takes to help you find the right home, at the right price. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and offer expert insights into the real estate market. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to address them.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying process, it helps to hire a real estate agent. And if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the assistance that you need to make your homeownership dream come true.

Get started on your homebuying checklist, and you can simplify the process of acquiring your ideal residence.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/26/2018

Moving is a big adjustment for any of us, yet it can be hardest on the children in our lives. Moving can mean a new school for your kids and a whole lot of unfamiliar faces. There are a few ways that you can help kids adjust to the change of moving to a new place and help them to feel at home faster. 


Let Them Be Involved With The New House


As a child, it can seem like moving into a new house is all about adults. Kids may feel that they’re merely along for the ride. You can let the kids pick out some things in the house. What color should their room be? Can the kids give some input on a new piece of furniture? Make moving a family affair and allow everyone in the family to feel included to make the transition smoother. 


Get Enrolled In Local Activities


See what types of local activities are available for the kids (and you) to be enrolled in. From tennis lessons to summer camp to after school activities, there’s plenty of things in a community that you and your family can get involved in. If you can find an activity to participate in with your kids, it will only make it easier for them to feel comfortable meeting other kids. You can also get acquainted with other adults to get some more information and insight about your new community. Making new friends and doing something they love will help your kids to feel right at home. The kids will feel more comfortable i their new school as well if they get involved.  



Help Kids Stay In Touch With Old Friends


Moving isn’t all about making new friends. Kids can still keep in touch with their old friends. If you didn’t move very far away, schedule dates for your kids to meet up with their old friends. If you have moved across states, encourage your kids to keep in touch with old friends through phone calls and video chat meetings. They’ll know that someday, they’ll see each other in person again. These actions can help in the transition of moving as well, since kids will see that their old lives have not been completely lost and forgotten about.


Stroll Around The Neighborhood As A Family


One great way to get adjusted to a new neighborhood is to explore it by foot. Make it a point to take an evening stroll as a family. The kids can learn a bit more about the area and begin to feel more comfortable in their surroundings with your help. You’ll also make discoveries about your new surroundings as a family.




Tags: Buying a home   moving tips   kids  
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