Discover Your Dream Home Online, Like A Pro

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but there are a few things you really must know. Looking online obviously should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and to gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following four things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter. Feel free to use my free site TheAngelOakGroup.com that updates every hour. Plus you can create your own personal profile where you can save searches, get notifications on your exact dream home, and more!
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. If you are searching on sites like Zillow remember while those sights can provide you with tons of little info like neighborhood demographics and everyone’s favorite feature… the Home Value Estimate. Um, this is a legit estimate. It is rarely accurate. Trust your REALTOR® to help you understand the true value of the home you have fallen for. A computer is great for pulling data but it still takes a trained mind to understand the data and analyze it properly. So trust your agent to help you navigate price.
  4. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

5 Deal Killers

5 Deal Killers

Negotiation is an art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that can make everyone happy. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal quick. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate pros) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer. It damages your cred as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider your offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

Creating The Right Down Payment Strategy

Down Payment

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

Moving In… First Things First

It's time to start moving in... but first, get your home fabulously ready!

Moving into your new home is a super exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks

Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets

It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner… Or call Stanley.

Call an exterminator

Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen

If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

These simple steps will make your first night in your new dream home that much sweeter! So take a moment to make that first night perfect.  Now that that’s done… let’s decorate!!

It’s Not The One

 

Buying a home can be so so exiting! You are on this amazing journey to find your dream home… But in this crazy market it is important to remember that sometimes what you think it’s The One… well… really isn’t.

You find the PERFECT home. The home that has pretty much everything that you want and desire is there. You have convinced yourself it is THE ONE. It’s your dream home! OMG! You found it. After months of searching you found a home that’s in your budget and checks off all your needs and wants. So you hit the GO button. You make your offer.

Now it’s time to wait. So you wait… You check your phone every 3 minutes totally freaked out that you’re going to miss the call from your agent. The phone rings… it’s just your mom. Ugh, okay, bye. You can’t talk to ANYONE… well, other than your agent! You start to realize that you are going to have to wait for what seems like a lifetime. So you distract yourself… Only you find yourself thinking of a million questions. So you text your agent. And don’t worry… we are totally used to this. So ask away! We love talking real estate and easing your hearts. Finally, your agent has news. A counter has come in!

Of course, you have a great agent who has warned you that the seller will likely counter your offer. SO you are prepared to have to negotiate. They come back with a counter… Counter? Ugh. They came down five bucks. Or at least it feels like $5. Now your heart is beginning to feel the nerves and it’s sinking a bit… Just a bit. You’re still excited! You counter back coming up a lot more than $5. Now you wait again… Get used to waiting.

The seller comes back one more time… This time they have another offer and want you to come back with your highest and best. Maybe they come back with their absolute lowest number. Now, you have to decide… what is the absolute most you will pay for this home you are convinced is your dream home… Your agent works with you to let you know what the market value of the home is. You put your top dollar number in the ring.

They come back with a hard no. They don’t want to play ball anymore. Maybe another offer came in that you can’t beat. Whatever it is… your dream home just slipped through your fingers. You are devastated.

But remember… when one window closes a door opens. This is a hard moment. It is absolutely okay to feel sad and disappointed. Just don’t lose faith. This isn’t the home for you. Your dream home is still out there. Soon it will appear and you will realize that that home was a dream but it wasn’t drop dead dreamy!!!

So please don’t give up. Your dream is within reach… It’s just taking a little extra time to get super dreamy! Dream on. The One is out there!