Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Update your browser

Real Estate Tips & Resources

Showing posts tagged "first-time homebuyer tips". Clear all filters

Homebuyer Resources
How to Find the Best Mortgage Lender in Denver
You’ve scoured the internet, bookmarked layouts in Architectural Digest, binged every Denver-based episode of House Hunters, and crafted a wish list of features for your future home. But, what about your wish list for finding the right Denver mortgage company to make that dream a reality? Buying a house is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll make in life. And having the right lender in your corner is an essential piece of the homebuying process. Don't settle for anything less than a great experience. Finding the best mortgage lender is more than just securing the lowest interest rate possible. Here’s a look at how the right mortgage company can help you win in the Denver housing market. What to look for in a Denver mortgage lender While the mortgage process may appear to be similar across lenders, not all mortgage companies are the same. Key differences include fees, the level of customer service you'll receive, how quickly the underwriting process can get done, and whether the lender can help you make the most competitive offer possible -- all these points make it worth your time to do your research. What you should expect from a mortgage lender: Great mortgage rates Flexible mortgage optionsNo hidden fees or "gotchas"Easy to work withFast underwriting process So how do you choose a lender? From conventional banks and credit unions to mortgage brokers and nonbank mortgage lenders, there are many options on the market today to consider. Long gone are the days when your only option was the local bank down the street. And while you shop around, remember that a competitive interest rate is a given but not your only consideration. For instance, it’s important to choose a lender that is reputable, responsive, exercises transparency, and offers top-notch customer service — a lender that drags their feet and prevents you from closing quickly can cause you to lose out on your Denver dream home. Like your real estate agent, your mortgage lender should be like a partner in the process. Buying a house in Denver should be a joyful experience; make sure your lender will set you up for success. Discover an innovative new mortgage process According to the Wall Street Journal, 68.1% of all U.S. mortgages issued in 2020 came from nonbank mortgage lenders, up from 58.9% in 2019. Homebuyers are getting wise to the fact that they don't need to rely on old-fashioned, traditional banks to help them buy their dream home. Yet, most would-be homeowners are not aware that there are alternatives to old-fashioned, traditional home loans, also. They don't realize that buying a house doesn't need to follow the same traditional (and slow) process their parents used when they bought a home -- a process that, frankly, doesn't work well for buyers or sellers. So what's the alternative? Accept.inc has turned the mortgage process on its head with an innovative loan product that allows buyers to make strong cash-only offers, with unmatched speed-to-closing and no delays due to financing and appraisal contingencies. Accept.inc is the first and only iLender, or a “technology-enabled lender”, which has facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate purchases between ordinary homebuyers and sellers in Denver to date. Waiting to see if your lender will give your loan the green light of approval after your offer has been accepted? Nerve racking. Having the rug pulled out from under your feet and your dream home ripped away at the last moment all because of a financing contingency? Heartbreaking and, frankly, unnecessary. Seriously, it’s the 21st century, there has to be a better way. And there is. At Accept.inc, we’ve flipped the script, performing the underwriting process upfront. This allows qualified buyers to become Cash Approved™ before they ever make an offer on a home. So, what exactly does that mean? As a buyer, you have proof of funds when you make your offer. Congrats, you're now negotiating with the power of cash. See how the right lender makes all the difference Lose. Rinse. Repeat. That doesn’t exactly sound like a formula for success to us. By working with the right Denver mortgage lender, you can hop off the merry-go-round of failed offers and improve your chances of scoring a win. Picking a proven mortgage lender who gets deals done and who comes recommended by trusted real estate agents can protect you from falling victim to bait-and-switch ads or brokers who forward your information to anyone and everyone willing to buy leads. You’re not just buying a product, you’re looking for a partner who will work alongside you to get the deal done. In today's housing market, you want to pick a lender that’s innovative, providing a creative and strategic solution that moves beyond the traditional mortgage process. Because let’s face it, the traditional mortgage process is stressful for both buyers and sellers. Historically, making an all-cash offer meant a homebuyer didn’t need to secure a mortgage. This was once reserved solely for investors, developers, and the rare one-percenters who had the capital needed to purchase a home outright. Today, however, we’ve leveled the playing field, providing everyday homebuyers with the proof of funds needed to make a cash offer. Accept.inc's Cash Approval process can be incredibly powerful, increasing your chances of making a winner offer by 4X. Why? Because the sale no longer depends upon your ability to successfully procure financing after a seller has already accepted your bid. The financing process is straightforward, with no strings attached and no hidden fees. In fact, there are no additional fees for an Accept.inc cash offer beyond the customary fees of any traditional mortgage. Let's recap. Great mortgage rates? Check. Accept.inc’s mortgage rates are very competitive. Flexible mortgage options? Absolutely. We offer a variety of financing options. No hidden fees? Guaranteed. Our cash offer service costs the same as a traditional mortgage. We don't add any additional fees or points when compared to a traditional mortgage offer. Easy to work with? You bet. We pair our approved buyers with an Approval Specialist, so that they have someone to personally walk them through the process. We also have a Cash Transaction Specialist who works closely with the buyer's agent to submit the offer. Check out some of our buyer reviews and agent testimonials for more proof. Helps you make the best offer? Here's another area where Accept.inc really shines! Because we give you the ability to make a cash offer, you're more likely to win in a bidding war, as well as negotiate the best deal. Sellers know that cash offers close faster, with no risk of offers falling through due to financing contingencies. Making a strong offer in the competitive Denver housing market Year over year, the Mile-High City is named one of the U.S. News & World Report's best places to live. From the area’s thriving economy to its vibrant culture, great school districts and a slew of outdoor activities, it’s no surprise the population has seen an estimated 21.2% increase in the last 10 years. It’s no secret either that the Denver housing market is competitive. Even as the hot market begins to cool, like any other metro area, it still comes with a higher-than-average cost of living. And while the median household income in Colorado is above the national average, any type of cost savings a homebuyer can secure is incredibly valuable. Especially when having to contend with multi-offer scenarios. When you're making a cash offer on a house with an Accept.inc mortgage, you have more negotiating power. Just like the lowest mortgage rate isn't the only consideration for buyers when choosing a loan (though of course Accept.inc has highly competitive rates with no additional fees), neither do house sellers only care about the highest offer. Because all-cash offers are attractive to sellers due to their certainty and speed, buyers with cash in hand have morhe negotiating power over those with traditional financing. Whether that means you can make a lower offer or you ask for extra concessions, the power of cash is undeniable in both a seller's and a buyer's market. Are you ready for your next Denver house offer to win? Get started by becoming Cash Approved™ today.
Kelly K. | Nov 22, 2021
Homebuyer Resources
Buying a House with Cash: A Guide
In the last few years, we've seen already hot real estate markets such as Denver, the California Bay Area, Seattle and others become even more competitive. Not only are homes selling just days after being listed and for way over asking price, but increasingly the winning bids are also "cash offers." What exactly is a cash offer and what does this trend mean for buyers and sellers? In this article, we explain the most important things to understand about why and how to buy a house with cash, why sellers prefer these deals, how all-cash offers work, and other frequently asked questions. What you'll learn: What is a cash offer?How common are all-cash offers in real estate?But wait, how do cash offers work?What are the benefits of buying a house with cash?Do you need a real estate agent to make a cash offer?Are cash offers necessary in 2021? What is a cash offer? Traditionally, a cash offer in real estate was one where the homebuyer didn't require a mortgage. Today, a cash offer can be made by a purchaser who has "proof of funds" for the full value of the offer, which means that the offer doesn't depend on them successfully arranging financing after the deal is accepted. That's a subtle, but powerful, distinction. Many homebuyers hear the term “cash offer” and instantly picture someone incredibly wealthy carrying a briefcase stuffed with neatly bundled hundred-dollar bills. These days, the most common image of a cash buyer is a faceless corporate developer or an investor who intends to make a low bid, flip for a hefty profit, and get out … rinse and repeat. These are not families or individuals who intend to live in the house they buy and be part of the community. And while there are individuals and institutions out there who have the liquidity to buy a house with cash (minus the 007-style briefcase) -- and many of these buyers are investors and developers -- making an all-cash offer on a house is a strategy that is increasingly accessible to everyday people. This is thanks to a new kind of lender who is turning the traditional (read: old-fashioned) mortgage lending industry on its head. Making a cash offer on a home only requires that you have cash on hand; and an iLender like Accept.inc will provide proof of funds so you can bid with the power of cash. Keep reading to learn how it works and why cash can be the factor that makes or breaks your deal. How common are all-cash offers in real estate? Many people tend to assume that all-cash home purchases are rare. However, they represent a surprising proportion of property sales – accounting for 36% of home sales according to CNBC. Others assume that the only people able to make a cash offer on a house are only either extremely wealthy investors or those companies that put out the "We buy houses" signs on the side of the road, whose sole intent is to buy a house for under market rate and flip it. But increasingly, cash buyers are regular home buyers looking for a leg up in a tight sellers market. But wait, how do cash offers work? Cash offers are simply offers that don't have an appraisal or a financing contingency, because the buyer already has 100% of the funds available, ready to use on the purchase of the house. That's it. Everything else about the process is straightforward, with no strange surprises or strings attached. So how do everyday buyers afford to make a cash offer on a house in an expensive market like Denver, San Francisco, or Washington DC if they aren't sitting on a giant inheritance? The alternative to traditional financing is to work with an iLender like Colorado-based Accept.inc. We flip the script by doing the underwriting process up front – not after the offer is made and accepted. Accept.inc buyers are Cash ApprovedTM before they make an offer. This is not a pre-qualification or pre-approval -- Cash Approved means the money is already in the bank, guaranteed. (Once the sale on the house closes, the buyer will then begin to pay back the loan, just as they would have with a traditional mortgage.) Providing proof of funds upfront is a highly attractive prospect for sellers. The reason? If a potential buyer is unable to secure lender financing – or a mortgage matching the amount they pre-qualified for – the deal is likely to fall through and the seller would be forced to relist their home. An all-cash offer is a win-win-win scenario for everyone involved -- buyers, sellers and real estate agents. What are the benefits of buying a house with cash? If you're a buyer, the traditional mortgage process is stressful! It's no picnic for homeowners on the other side of the transaction either. Waiting for the lender to approve the loan AFTER the offer has been submitted and accepted, only for the deal to fall apart because of a financing contingency feels completely backwards. Here are the main reasons why cash offers are better: Cash offers speed up the closing timeline Neither buyers nor sellers want to endure a lengthy, drawn-out closing process. Whether a seller is relocating to accommodate their growing family, an employment opportunity or simply taking the next step in their homeowner journey, they want the same thing: a smooth and speedy sale. According to Ellie Mae, after an offer is accepted, it takes approximately 47 days for the sale to close. It takes this long to close in part due to the lengthy underwriting process involved in getting a loan through a traditional mortgage lender. An all-cash offer, on the other hand, offers a fast turnaround time, taking an average of 14 days to close. Cash offers are less likely to fall through Cash offers are less likely to fall through. "Issues related to obtaining financing” continuously tops NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index report as the leading cause of delays or terminations of a potential home sale. So, naturally, sellers want to engage with buyers who provide certainty and the least amount of risk possible. Buyers who go the traditional mortgage route attach a pre-approval letter to their offer as “assurance” that the deal will close. But don't be fooled. While traditional pre-approvals can be obtained quickly, they don’t provide much in the way of certainty because the lender can still draw out the approval process when they take a deeper look into the borrower's finances or deny the loan outright. There's no such risk with a cash offer. And Accept.inc offers won't fall through because of an appraisal contingency either. That's because there is no appraisal required after the offer is made. The Accept.inc process includes a value-check before the offer is made, so both sellers and buyers can rest easy knowing the sale is already approved for the amount of the offer. Just to be crystal clear: an Accept.inc-backed cash offer has no appraisal contingency and no financing contingency. Period. Cash offers can save you money Because of the reasons listed above, sellers find all-cash bids more attractive. In fact, in a bidding war, a cash offer might beat a higher offer with traditional financing. If you're the buyer, that means you benefit from a hidden cash discount. In 2021, the average home price in the United States has reached a new all-time high of over $400,0000, according to Statistia. According to the Denver Post, in the summer of 2021 the median home price in Denver reached a record $600,00, up 25% over 2020. Even if the market begins to cool, buying a home in a market like Denver is going to continue to be a big-ticket purchase for the foreseeable future. Even a small percentage point discount on such a large purchase -- when it comes at no additional cost to you -- is free money, or instant equity, back in your pocket. “Even if you have the strongest financed offer out there, there is just something about cash that almost always entices the seller”-Madison Kissel, Compass Do you need a real estate agent to make a cash offer? While you don’t technically need a real estate agent when buying a house, we don’t recommend doing it without one. Regardless of whether you're buying with cash or using a traditional home loan, a professional real estate agent brings important knowledge to the table. Agents have the market intelligence and local insights needed to help buyers understand everything from various neighborhoods and school districts to what it takes to write a winning offer. An agent’s expertise is priceless – especially when it comes to crafting a competitive offer or handling negotiations with a seller. With a purchase worth potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more!), the risk of trying to go it alone won't be worth it. The great news is that you're in charge. Accept.inc is a lender, not a brokerage, which means we work with you and whichever real estate agent you choose -- this gives you and your agent the flexibility you need to make the best decisions for you. Are cash offers necessary in 2021? According to CNN, “In this wild housing market, with 21% fewer homes on the market than last year and demand pushing prices to record highs, the competition for a home is fierce. One thing that can put a potential buyer on the top of the heap is an all-cash offer.” When given the opportunity to choose between an offer with financing contingencies that could drag on for potentially two months and an all-cash offer, which can close in about 2 weeks, the seller and their agent will be hard pressed to choose the slower and riskier option. Cash is powerful -- whether that's to gain an edge against competing buyers or to create a more favorable position for negotiating on price or terms. Making a cash offer can increase your chances of making a winning offer by 4X or help you negotiate a lower sale price. If you want to increase the odds of winning your next offer, at a price that works for you, we think making a cash offer on your next house is the right strategy. "We won the home even though there were multiple offers that were much higher! The seller liked ours the best because of the cash, knowing that we could close faster. My buyers were thrilled after waiting on so many other homes, they had told me they thought they were never going to be able to get a house!-Clark Hutt, HomeSmart Our philosophy at Accept.inc is simple: if you can qualify for a mortgage, then you deserve the same opportunity to make a strong offer through the power of cash. To be clear, there are no extra costs involved and you pay off your Accept.inc loan over time, just like a regular home lome. Our mission is to enable a cash offer on every home. Now that you know how a cash offer works, start the process to get Cash Approved today or learn more about the benefits to sellers.
Kelly K. | Aug 27, 2021
A buyer and seller making an Accept.inc cash offer on a home in Denver Colorado
Homebuyer Resources
How to Buy a Home - Step Six: Make an Offer
If you didn’t catch our last blog post on how to house hunt in a hot market, you can get caught up here. In today’s blog, we take a look at the sixth step to purchasing a home: how to make an offer on a home. The day has finally come: you’ve found a house that feels right and are ready to claim your stake and submit an offer. But where do you begin? And how can you compete when there are so many other buyers? The pandemic has created an insatiable demand for home ownership. With both interest rates and housing inventory hitting rock-bottom lows, the average price for a single-family home is now valued higher than ever before. House prices have skyrocketed over 15% across the nation in just the past year, creating the perfect storm for a multiple offer frenzy. Buyers are pulling out all the stops in 2021, letting sellers know why they should be named the chosen one. From cash offers to season Broncos tickets, no consideration is too creative or crazy in this hypercompetitive market and the highest price isn’t always the best offer. How do you know if you are prepared to submit an offer? Here’s a quick list of what you should complete prior to submitting an offer: Reviewed comparable sales so you are familiar with the local housing marketYou or your real estate agent have asked the right investigative questions to the seller’s agent to uncover the seller’s true motivation for sellingYou have done research on the listing and the seller; you know if other offers have been made and why they didn’t cross the finish lineYou are prepared to show them the money; you have a Cash Approval or mortgage pre-approval letter dated within last 30 days to submit as part of your offer packageYou have researched inspectors and have a short list you can call to do a an inspection that same week in case your offer is accepted Step into the Seller’s Shoes In a seller’s market, a winning offer is one that can get ahead of a seller’s hopes and fears. Your offer should demonstrate you are a serious and motivated buyer, whose deal is unlikely to fall through and will close smoothly and quickly. In a balanced market, finding out the owner's reasons for selling can be a tricky game of cat and mouse. One of the upsides of a seller’s market is that sellers have so many options that they will often cut to the chase upfront and tell you or your agent their bottom line. What are the weakest parts of an offer? They are the same things that keep a seller up at night after they signed the contract. Let’s take a look at how you can strengthen your offer so it is more appealing to a seller. Focus on the 3 big rocks of an offer: Money, Conditions and Timing Big Rock #1: Money Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) An earnest money deposit, often referred to as EMD, is the amount you pay after the seller accepts your offer. This is a “good faith” gesture demonstrating you are committed to the deal. This is your cash you are willing to put “on the line” and stand to lose if you back out without a reason that was outlined in the offer. Make sure your agent explains to you how and when your EMD will become non-refundable as different contingencies in the offer are satisfied such as inspection, appraisal and financing. Price Feeling overwhelmed about what price to offer? In a seller’s market this fierce, the rules on price and negotiation are exponentially different than in a buyer’s market. With sellers often receiving as many as forty offers the first day a home is listed, your realtor might advise you to submit your highest and best price from the start. This will send a clear message that you are serious, rather than attempting to low-ball the price. Pro-Tip: If the seller is asking a price that equates with a mortgage you were approved for, but the monthly payment tied to that mortgage amount starts making your stomach queasy, it’s probably a sign you need to offer less or look at other homes that are priced lower. Knowing and sticking to the monthly housing payment you originally planned for can reduce a lot of unnecessary stress and simplify the offer process. Big Rock #2 Conditions of the sale- Contingencies Contingencies are clauses that establish minimum terms and conditions that must be met for the sale to go through. Contingencies can give you a way to back out of the deal, and get your earnest money back, so it should come as no surprise that sellers prefer buyers with fewer contingencies. Here are the top 3 contingencies that give buyers an exit strategy: Inspection- A home can look great on the outside but reveal expensive and time- consuming work once a trained inspector gets inside to examine it. The inspection contingency gives you the right to conduct a professional home inspection with a licensed inspector. The inspector will evaluate and provide you with a report on the condition and safety of the home at that point in time, plus feedback on any suggested repairs that need to be made. If that report reveals serious issues, you can reconsider your offer or terminate. Pro-Tip: Limiting the period of time to submit inspection objections can show the seller you are serious about your offer and not playing games. Appraisal-If you’re getting a mortgage, your lender will not loan you more money than the home is worth. An appraisal provides you and your lender with the fair market value of a home before the mortgage closes. Lenders will refuse to provide a loan that is greater than the appraisal value, and if you do not have the cash to cover a possible gap between the appraisal value and your offer amount (or feel comfortable paying for the gap), this is another opportunity for you to renegotiate or back out. Financing- Also known as a mortgage contingency, this condition is essential if you are getting a traditional mortgage which is not backed by a Cash Approval. In a multiple offer situation, sellers will typically rule out a potential buyer with anything less than solid financing approval in place. The financing contingency says that if your loan does not receive full underwritten approval by the end of the transaction, you can back out of the deal without losing your deposit. Pro-Tip: Get Cash Approved™ and remove the financing and appraisal contingencies from your offer. Big Rock #3 Timing Your offer will have a proposed closing timeline, which includes the inspection period. Once a seller accepts an offer, that day of acceptance becomes the effective date of the contract and that’s when the transaction’s clock starts ticking. Wes Stewart, Broker Owner of Mile High Luxury, says one of the most effective strategies to make an offer attractive is to prioritize the seller’s timing. “Buyers should be thoughtful when proposing dates and deadlines, such as the projected closing date, title work or other due diligence,” says Stewart. “Sellers hate having staggered dates. A strong offer will align those dates-so multiple deadlines are completed and crossed off the same day. That’s going to be very appealing to the seller.” Keep a cool head, stick to your limits and trust your realtor’s counsel If a seller’s market is leaving you with limited choices, it can become easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment when you finally find a home you like. “The offer stage is not the appropriate time to become emotionally attached,” says Stewart. “If you love a house, you need to realize there are twenty other buyers out there who probably feel the same way and are also going to write an offer.” Crafting a winning offer is an art, and in today’s red-hot market, can feel like rocket science. But just like all the steps presented in this homebuyer’s blog, preparing beforehand is key to a smooth experience. If you have done your offer homework on the purchase agreement, the house and the seller, you will feel a lot more confident going into a bidding war. Stick to your limits while remaining open and optimistic. Remember: an offer is your one opportunity to start a direct conversation with the seller. Take a moment to reflect on what will make your offer the most compelling in this interaction.. And if you would like to learn more about how an Accept.inc Cash Offer can remove finance and appraisal contingencies to make your offer stand out from the pack, consider getting Cash-Approved today.
Jennifer Shapiro | Jun 9, 2021
Homebuyer Resources
How to Buy a Home - Step Five: House Hunt in a Hot Market
If you  didn’t catch our last blog post on choosing a real estate agent before you start your home search, you can get caught up here. In today’s blog, we take a look at the fifth step to purchasing a home: how to house hunt in a hot market. Today’s housing market is hotter than ever. A decade of underbuilding homes has caught up just as demand from the pandemic is hitting an all-time high. With the continuation of record- low mortgage rates and lack of housing supply, the market is not expected to cool off anytime soon. If you’re house hunting in 2021, you can expect to be up against a lot of competition and it may take longer than usual to win a home. In a market this aggressive it’s likely you will only have one chance to see a home before you submit an offer and you may find yourself in a same-day bidding war. So, if you do see a property you like, you will need to put your best foot forward! Prepare as though you will be submitting a same-day offer In a market this fierce, there is a good chance you will not get to see homes at your own pace. The time you are given to spend looking at a house will be rushed because most homes on the market right now have back-to-back showings. Preparing beforehand will allow you more time and space to focus once inside the home and help you reduce mistakes or delays. Make a day of it To make efficient use of your time, make a day of it. Give your agent some lead time to line up as many private showings as possible in one day when you are available. If you want to see as many homes as possible during daylight hours, you might want to consider skipping a break that day and starting in the morning as early as possible. Likewise, it would be wise to avoid making plans for that evening in case you end up submitting an offer that same day. Write down your wish list Write a list of wants and needs for the home, then prioritize each list. If you’re buying a home with a spouse, make separate lists and compare. Review with your real estate agent before and then revisit after seeing 10 homes as a reality check on your price point and to narrow down the list. Do your homework Ask your agent to research “comps” for the neighborhoods you are targeting for your hunt. Studying MLS data of recent sale prices in the neighborhood ahead of time will give you an accurate reality check on the current value. Don’t rely on being able to pull up an online estimate while you’re touring the home. Remember: the data that is compiled by third-party sources on the Internet and is not always correct or consistent. Ask your agent to generate a comps report and then walk you through it. Try to have this conversation at least few days in advance so you have time to review and are educated on the market prior to house hunting. What to Bring Cash Approval ™ or pre-approval letter dated within last 30 days Measuring tape Anyone else who has a stake in the purchase decision. Again-you might have only one shot to see the house before submitting an offer, so you’re going to want to make it count. Pro-Tip: Ask your agent to prepare a folder with a hard copy of MLS sheets for each house you are seeing. Writing some quick notes on each home’s MLS sheet will help keep the details of each home organized in your head for reviewing later. The MLS sheets will also provide you with valuable information on the home and community including the price and date when the home last sold, property taxes, HOA fees and restrictions. What to look for when touring a home Make yourself at home and test drive everything If you are absolutely certain that you don’t like a home, it’s ok to pivot and cut the tour short. On the flip side, if you do like it, take your time and make the most of it. Don’t be shy-this is your time to test drive the house. It is critical that you can see everything in the home clearly. Make sure all the lights are on and the curtains and blinds are open. Bret Weinstein, Founder and CEO of BSW Real Estate prefers to split up from clients when touring a home to maximize the time. “My job is to walk through the house at the same time as you. And then we can meet up at the end and I can point out any material issues I saw, like is the home structurally sound? I want my clients focused on whether they feel like they could live in the home and would feel comfortable. My job is to walk through and make sure that the house is going to pass an inspection.” Checklist for interior and exterior Engage your senses when touring homes. Does the home smell stale or musty? Can you hear traffic from the street or highway? Do you see wear and tear that wasn’t visible in online photos? Here’s a quick list of what to check for both inside and outside the home: Interior: Natural light and views Width and type of stairway Closet and storage space Plumbing and water pressure Type of flooring in each room Age and condition of heating and cooling systems Age and condition of appliances Measure for furniture Exterior Property boundaries Garage size Landscaping Porches, covered patios and decks Age and condition of roof Age and condition of windows Exterior doors Proximity of neighboring homes and how well they maintain their yard Pro-Tip: When surveying the interior and exterior of a home, it’s important to be honest with yourself and separate logic from emotion. Don't let cosmetic features like wallpaper that are easy or affordable to fix or replace dictate a homebuying decision. Determine what your budget for repairs, replacements and renovations is going in and focus on calculating the big-ticket items that can be expensive or intensive to fix like replacing a roof or heating and cooling systems. Recognize that certain things like the floorplan can be costly to modify, but things like showerheads are not and probably shouldn’t carry too much weight in your decision. How to take notes and stay organized when house hunting It’s very common for homebuyers to finish a long day of house hunting and struggle to remember individual houses- everything becomes one big blur. Do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes for notes, pictures and videos while you are in the homes. Give each home a rating of either A, B or C and jot down some quick handwritten notes on the home’s MLS sheet so it is easier to connect the dots later. Walk through the home once and for “A” leads that are top contenders, take a second walkthrough video tour of the home by starting on the street where you can begin filming the block and neighboring homes as you walk inside. Pro-Tip: Write down a few features or personal impressions that stood out about the home that will jog your memory later such as, “house smelled like curry, fire pit in backyard, Kim Kardashian walk-in closet Top 10 Questions to ask the seller’s agent Other than price, what is the seller looking for in an offer?Why are the owners moving? Where are they going?How long have the current owners lived here? Were they the original owners? How old is the home? How old is the roof? How old are the heating and cooling systems and can they show you show where all are located? Are there any repairs or replacements needed? Can you see a copy of the current owner’s utility and maintenance bills? Have there been any offers on the home? How recently and rejected at what price? Is the seller currently reviewing any offers? How many? When is their deadline for you to submit an offer? Pro-Tip: Don’t be too open in sharing your thoughts and feelings with the real estate agent who is showing you the home. Even if it is not the seller’s agent, it could hurt your ability to negotiate later. Debrief with your agent Give your realtor immediate feedback when you leave the house while it’s still fresh in your head. Let them know what you loved or hated about the house, but specifically-what about it was the deal-breaker. This is also the best time to ask your agent their opinion on the home overall, but particularly, price and value. “As soon as we walk out of the house, I ask my buyers, ‘would you buy this home, yes or no?’ says Weinstein. “If the answer is anything other than yes then we move on to the next house. I want to get their gut reaction. Because I think that's where there is so much value.” Bring your head but don’t forget your heart With all these guidelines ruling your home search, it can be easy to get caught up in logic, feel overwhelmed, and lose the joy of shopping for a home. But buying a home is very personal and emotional; there is no app or algorithm that can predict what home you will or won’t fall in love with. Don’t forget to take your heart with you on your homebuying journey and look for the “wow”-that moment you walk into a home and something about it takes your breath away or makes your head turn. Something about it that makes you feel at home. House hunting can feel like a competitive sport in 2021 and easily leave you discouraged at the end of the day. But if you take a little time to prepare in advance and be proactive about it, you’ll be ready to submit a winning offer the same day you find the one.
Jennifer Shapiro | Apr 8, 2021