House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, itís important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.
Fortunately, in todayís digital world, itís possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.
In todayís post, Iím going to give you some advice on researching the homes youíre thinking about making an offer on. Weíll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.
Letís start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are youíre already on this page. However, thereís a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the homeís description.
Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.
Once youíve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessorís website to look at records of the homeís ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. Thereís much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.
If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.
However, it isnít always practical to take the time to visit a house that you arenít sure youíre interested in. So, whatís the next best thing? Google Maps.
Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see whatís in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.
Next, use Googleís ďstreet viewĒ feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.
Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.
If youíre having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.
After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.
At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.
A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.
Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:
1. What did the home inspection reveal?
A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.
Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.
Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.
Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.
2. Are there major home issues?
As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.
For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.
On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.
If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.
3. What should I do next?
An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.
Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.
If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.
Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.
Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to your financial picture. You know how important it is to have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time and keep your debt down, you think that your score will be just fine, but this isnít always the case. There are a few hidden mistakes that you could be making that are bringing your credit score down. Read on to find out what to avoid when trying to keep your credit score up and maintain it.
Too Many Credit Inquiries
Beware that every time you apply for a new loan or even just check on what type of interest rate you can get, your credit will be reviewed. You want to avoid too many credit inquiries because a high number will bring your credit score down. Always ask if a lender is pulling a hard inquiry to check your score, donít allow too many of these credit checks.
Anything Small Can Make A Big Impact
Was there a mistake on a medical bill that you paid but it says it was unpaid? If you let this go, your credit score could be impacted. Even unreturned library books that have been turned over to collections can negatively affect your score. Stay on top of things because you never know how a small mishap can affect you.
Your Information Is Wrong
You should look at your credit report so that you can see more than just your history. You can see the information that is being reported to check for mistakes. Incorrect information can bring your credit score down. You can call the credit bureau thatís associated with any errors that you see on your credit report. It can be a little bit of a process to correct the mistakes on your credit report, but the time and effort is definitely worth it for your credit score.
Not Using your Credit
While using your credit too much is a problem, not making use of your credit at all can be a problem. Responsibly use your credit. Open a credit card and use it to make small purchases. Charge only things that you can afford and pay the balance off each month. This simple use of a card is one of the easiest ways to establish credit.
Itís important to do what you can to develop and maintain a healthy credit score. Keep all of your avenues covered to be sure that nothing hidden can negatively affect your credit score.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan to find and purchase a home. In some instances, a buyer instantly discovers a great residence at a budget-friendly price. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer many weeks or months to find the perfect house.
Although the homebuying journey varies from person to person, there are several things that a buyer can do to simplify the property buying cycle. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly and effortlessly find your ideal residence.
1. Establish Homebuying Expectations
As a homebuyer, it is important not to get too high or too low during the property buying journey. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you should have a good idea about what to anticipate as you search for your dream house.
Oftentimes, it helps to put together homebuying criteria. Think about where you want to find your dream house, as well as the home features you want. With this information at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.
2. Create a Homebuying Budget
Like most homebuyers, you probably have only a finite amount of money to spend on a new house. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. These financial institutions can provide insights into adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage options and offer details about mortgage terms. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage that complements your financial situation.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
You may want to pursue a house on your own, but this approach may prove to be problematic. A homebuyer who conducts a home search without expert assistance may miss out on the opportunity to find and buy a terrific house at an affordable price. Perhaps even worse, without housing market guidance, a buyer may wind up overpaying for a residence that fails to match his or her expectations.
If you want to achieve the optimal results during your quest for your ideal residence, you should hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is ready to guide you along the homebuying journey and help you make informed property buying decisions.
A real estate agent will go the extra mile to make the homebuying cycle as simple as possible. He or she will teach you about the real estate market, learn about your homebuying goals and help you hone your house search. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. And if you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home.
Simplify the homebuying journey Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a quick, stress-free property buying experience.
A home showing may prove to be a life-changing event, and for good reason. If a homebuyer attends a showing and likes what he or she sees, it may be only a matter of time before this individual submits an offer to acquire a residence. As such, it is important to prepare for a home showing to ensure a buyer can fully evaluate a house and determine whether it is the ideal choice.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why homebuyers should put together a list of questions prior to a home showing, and these reasons include:
1. You can attend a home showing with a strategy in place.
A home listing usually includes information about a house's age and condition. However, few homebuyers are willing to submit an offer on a house based on a listing alone. But if you use a home listing to prepare questions before a showing, you can attend a showing with a plan in place to pursue your dream residence.
Oftentimes, it helps to prepare a list of general questions about a home. You then can review this list in conjunction with a home listing and determine which questions are answered in the listing itself. If you find assorted questions are still unanswered in the listing, you should not hesitate to find answers to these questions when you attend a showing.
2. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.
Preparing a list of questions prior to a home showing may enable you to gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible decision about a house. And in most instances, you can never prepare too many questions to ensure that you can make an informed decision about a house.
Remember, buying a house is a major decision. If you put together a list of questions before a home showing, you can help take the guesswork out of deciding whether to submit an offer on a home.
3. You may be able to speed up the homebuying process.
The homebuying cycle may prove to be long and complicated, particularly for a homebuyer who is uncertain about how to proceed. With a list of questions in hand, you can attend a home showing and gain expert insights right away. Meanwhile, these insights can help you decide whether a house is right for you.
As you get ready for a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent is happy to help you craft a list of questions prior to a home showing. Also, this housing market professional can keep you up to date about houses that match your homebuying criteria, help you submit offers on homes and much more.
When it comes to home showings, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. If you prepare a list of questions prior to your next showing, you should have no trouble evaluating a house.