How To Handle A Motivated Seller

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Often ads for homes on the market include the phrase “motivated seller,” and while this sounds as if it may be to your benefit as a home buyer, what does it actually mean? If a seller is truly motivated you can benefit from a number of potential perks they may be willing to throw in to get their home sold, or they may even be willing to accept a lower offer than the asking price. Here are a few tips on how to find motivated sellers, and how to get the best deal possible.

Is The Seller Really Motivated?

Believe it or not, all “motivated sellers” are not really motivated. The phrase is often used by sellers and real estate agents to get a response from potential buyers. From the perspective of agents, if a seller is fairly insistent that they want a particular price for their home, which the agent feels is above the market value, they may use this phrase to encourage bids below the asking price. Sellers, on the other hand, may request this phrase be used whether they are motivated or not, in order to encourage a bidding war. Whether the seller is actually motivated or not may not always be apparent, but the best way to gauge the situation is by contacting the agent and making a low offer if you are interested.

So The Seller Is Really Motivated! Now What?

If you have put in a below asking price offer and it has been accepted, or a counter offer has been given, then you may really be dealing with a motivated seller.

So what should you do to make the most of this situation while protecting your own interests? The first thing you should always do is be sure you are clear about why the homeowner is so motivated to sell. Is there something wrong with the house or the property? Getting a qualified home inspector to carefully check the property before signing anything is very important to protecting your investment. If all goes well with the home inspection, you may have the opportunity to negotiate other bonuses as well, including the appliances, financing options, or a renovation budget.

Whatever the situation, it is always a good idea to have an agent represent you through the home buying process. They are your insider in getting the most out of the situation, and can help you wade through all the jargon of the home purchasing experience.

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How To Handle A Bidding War

bidding warSo you have found the home of your dreams, it has all the features you want, and it is in the right neighborhood. Even the price is right, but suddenly you find yourself in a bidding war with one or more people who also think this is the perfect home. This can be a stressful and sometimes even heartbreaking experience, but what knowledge should you arm yourself with before entering a bidding war with other potential buyers? Here are a few important tips to remember in order to get the house of your dreams without breaking the budget.

Know Your Budget

Having a good idea of what you can afford and knowing your target price can really prevent you from making a bid that you may ultimately not be able to honor. The best way to do this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin house hunting. That way you will be certain of what you can afford, and if you do find that perfect house you will be able to move quickly to make the purchase.

Know Its Value

While the home for which you are involved in a bidding war may be the house of your dreams, paying considerably more for it than it is worth is never a wise choice. To avoid getting yourself into this situation, do your homework before making an offer. Look at the value of similar homes in the area, and contact a real estate agent or expert to determine the fair value.

Know What You Are Paying For

Getting the results of a home inspection, determining what features actually come with the house, and knowing how much you will have to spend to get it in livable condition will give you a clearer picture of what you are paying for, what comes with the house, and what your budget can hold.

Bid Smart

The fears in any bidding war are that your bid will not be the highest, or that the bidding will keep raising the price higher and higher. To prevent this from happening your best approach in any bidding war is to bid right the first time. If you are prepared to bid, making your best offer first time around will prevent your bid from being rejected due to another higher offer. Bidding odd amounts can sometimes make the difference between your bid or another being the highest.

In general, being caught in a bidding war for a home you really want is always a stressful situation, but armed with these few tips you can end up with the house you want at the price you are prepared to pay.

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How Much House Do You Need?

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While it may be nice to have a home with five bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, and a four-car garage, how many of us really need this much space? The best approach is to look at a few particular aspects of your life and lifestyle to make the right choice.

What Is The Size Of Your Family And Will It Grow In The Near Future?

If you are a newly married couple who plan on having children, purchasing a family home with ample room to grow may be the right choice for you. Childless couples, retired couples, or singles may want to rethink the large home and opt for something a little more size appropriate.

Do You Need Office Space Or Like To Entertain?

If you use your home primarily to meet your daily needs, such as a place to sleep, eat, and relax, you may want to consider a home with a large den or office space and a formal dining room.

Do You Plan To Stay In Your Home Long-Term?

If you are just entering the housing market and plan to live in several houses or in several locations throughout your life, you really don’t need your dream home the first time around. Buying a property that suits your lifestyle for the period of time you will live in it is your best strategy.

These are just a few considerations you should take into account when finding the right sized home for you and your family. Having a clear picture of the type of house you need will make the task a little easier, and keep your finances in check!

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Hiring A Home Inspector

home inspectorYou’ve gone to countless open houses, searched online for months, and have finally found the house of your dreams, but before signing your name on the dotted line there are a few key steps you should not overlook. When purchasing a home, hiring the right home inspector can be the most important decision you make. Knowing the condition of the house you are going to purchase cannot be left to appearances or promises, and some undetected problems can be even more costly than the price of the house itself. Making sure you have the services of a home inspector who knows what he or she is doing can prevent what should be a great investment from becoming a financial disaster. So what steps can you take to be sure your home inspector is qualified? Here are a few things to consider.

How Long Have They Been In The Business, And What Is Their Professional Background?

The housing market has steadily increased over the last several decades, and the home inspection business is booming. With new home inspectors becoming certified each day from a variety of programs, hiring the services of an experienced inspector can really make a difference. Though experience is always a good indicator of qualifications, also consider hiring an inspector who has a background in the housing industry, whether as a real estate agent or home builder.

What Are Their Qualifications?

With the incredible number of courses and schools offering certification in home inspection, knowing where your home inspector got their training and whether or not the course is actually recognized by the certifying body in your area is definitely worth the extra time to find out. Always ask to see proof of their certification, and make the necessary calls to the institution if there is any doubt.

Do They Have References?

This may seem an obvious question to ask any professional, but many people skip this step, and even fewer actually follow up on the references that they ask for. Always call the references that your home inspector provides, and be sure they can give you at least three recent referrals.

How Much Do They Charge?

While the costs involved in purchasing a new home can add up quickly, the temptation to try to save when hiring a home inspector should be resisted. Call several home inspectors for quotes, and if the one you have selected is considerably cheaper than the others, ask yourself why. Most certified and qualified home inspectors know what the competition is charging and will usually charge a similar rate.

While all this work may seem like a lot of effort for what may turn out to be just red tape, if there is a serious problem with the property you are hoping to buy and it goes undetected, what should be your greatest investment may turn out to be your greatest liability.

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Getting To Know The Neighborhood Before Buying A Home

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There is a reason the term “location, location, location” is used so commonly within the real estate industry. The location of a property is one of the most important considerations when selecting a home, as it will affect the value of your home, your day-to-day life, and even your own and your family’s safety. So what can you do to find out a little about the area in which you are considering a home purchase, and what in particular should you be looking for?

Know Your Needs

The biggest obstacle to finding a home in an area that can meet all of your needs is not knowing clearly what those needs are. While it may be nice to live near the lake, or by your favorite restaurant, what is it that you and your family will need and want in order to have an enjoyable and functional lifestyle? Facilities such as grocery stores, good schools, and community centers may be necessary for families, whereas access to theaters, good restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife may be important to young professionals.

Get The Info

When searching for your dream home, knowing where to look before starting out can help make the task easier and faster. So before getting started with the house hunting, do a little neighborhood hunting first. There are a number of resources online, from municipal Web sites to forums, that you can use to find out about prospective areas that may be right for you. Contacting a real estate agent is also another great resource in finding an area that can meet your needs.

Check It Out For Yourself

All the research in the world can never replace experience, and if you are planning to purchase a home you will want to be sure the location is right before making what will likely be the biggest investment of your life. Taking a walk in the area, trying out the local facilities, and getting to know some of the locals can really help you to determine whether the area will be a fit for you and your family. You may also want to check out the area at different times of the day, or even the year, if these are considerations that may affect your happiness in your new home.

A little extra work can really mean not only choosing a home that is right for you, but making sure it is in an area that can meet all of your needs.

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Buying A Home That Can Grow With Your Family

boston real estate single family housesIf you are a first time homeowner, or are purchasing a home after a major life change such as marriage or having children, what should you consider to be sure your new home can grow with your changing family? The time and effort that go into purchasing and decorating a new home, not to mention finding it in the first place, means that you’ll want to ensure that your home will be right for you and your family for years to come. So what should you look for in your new home so that it will give you enjoyment and be functional both now and in the future?

Size

Though a cute two-bedroom home may be right for a newlywed couple, this type of space will likely soon be outgrown if there are any children in your future or if you and your spouse like to entertain. You will also want to consider the number of bathrooms and the facilities in them. Having only one toilet or shower can certainly put stress on a growing family.

Features

Special features of a home, such as a finished basement, central air, and a large yard can make your home a more functional and enjoyable space, especially if you have or are considering starting a family in the near future. You may also want to consider the age of the home you purchase and its features or appliances, as this may lead to future costs that may put stress on your financial situation at a time when one spouse may be at home caring for the children.

Location

Location is also an important consideration when choosing a home that can grow with your family. Choosing a safe neighborhood is always an important point when selecting a family home, but you will also want to consider the proximity of good schools, community centers, and shopping. Also, facilities such as parks and libraries can make a neighborhood truly a great place for families. You may also want to consider the demographics of the area in which you are purchasing in order to be sure it is a match with your values.

As the old adage goes, home is where the heart is, and choosing a family home that is right for your family can really make all the difference in having a happy, fulfilling, and safe family life.

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Buying A Home Long Distance

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The process of purchasing a home can be a complicated and stressful experience, but if you have to purchase a new home in another city the experience can become even more complicated. Whether you are relocating for a job, retiring to a dream location, or are just looking for a change, purchasing a home long distance has a whole separate to-do list on top of the already long list of things that need to be done to purchase a new home. Here are some tips to make purchasing a home long distance a little easier, and still get the home of your dreams!

The Internet Is A Powerful Tool!

The internet is a powerful research tool for learning more about virtually any topic, and purchasing a home is no exception. From finding a REALTOR® to searching properties, the internet is a great aid in finding a home. It is also a great resource for finding information about potential lenders, home inspectors, and all the other extras involved in buying a home. Though the internet is a great resource in the real estate market, like any information you find online, it is always important to be sure it is coming from a reputable source. Finding Web sites that are run by professional REALTORS® or real estate organizations is your best bet for reliable information.

Hire A Local REALTOR®

Your best approach is to be sure you have an agent in your prospective area on your team early on. They can certainly direct you to some great online resources and help you determine which are accurate and up-to-date. They are also a great resource for finding out which neighborhoods would be a good fit for you and your family, and the local amenities that are available to you.

In general, buying a home long distance can have its obstacles, but with a little research on your part and the help of a professional REALTOR®, you can make the transition to both a new home and a new city easier and stress free.

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A Single Woman’s Guide To Home Ownership

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The traditional view of home ownership usually includes a married couple, but times have changed, and more and more single women are entering the housing market. In fact, almost twice as many single women are purchasing homes than single men, and almost one in five homes purchased today are purchased by single women. So why are single women making up such a large part of the housing market, and what are the special considerations single women should make when purchasing a home?

What Women Want!

The demographics of single women buying homes are quite diverse. From young professional women in their 20s to divorced mothers in their 40s, there are really no typical single women making home purchases, and their needs are just as diverse. Overall, however, there do appear to be a few trends in the market, and here is a list of what the average single woman is looking for in a new home.

Most spend less than $200,000
Prefer two bedrooms or more
Less likely to choose new construction
Will compromise size and cost to get other amenities, but not location
Smaller spaces are acceptable, and many prefer condos
Desire security and safe neighborhoods with a strong community feel
Look for close proximity to stores, shopping, and fitness centers

Things To Consider

If you are a single woman looking to enter the housing market, or know someone who is, then what should be considered before making the leap into home ownership?

Essentially the considerations are much the same as those of any homeowner. Taking a realistic look at your financial situation is always important. Seeking out the advice of a qualified financial advisor and a REALTOR® can make the process less difficult. It is also important to be sure you are not entering into any unwise loan agreements that may not be wise down the road, such as no-money-down deals. It is also important to have a clear picture of what your needs as a homeowner are, and that you don’t settle for something that will not work with your particular lifestyle.

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Things Needed After Purchasing A Home

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Now that you’ve signed all the paperwork and your loan is approved, it’s time to move in. But wait! Before you put your feet up, there are a few things that you will need in order to make your new house a home.

Locks

Regardless of whether you purchase a newly constructed home or one that was formerly owned by someone else, it’s important that you have the locks changed. Everyone from REALTORS® and contractors to friends and family of the former owner may have a key, which is why getting new locks should be at the top of your list.

Furnishings

You can’t hang your hat without a hatrack, so don’t forget to add some necessary furnishings. Some homes may include appliances and possibly even some furniture, but most homeowners prefer to decorate their house themselves. After all, someone else’s taste in decor may not necessarily be the same as your own. If you purchase from a furniture store, they will handle the delivery for you. Otherwise, you can hire a moving company.

Appliances & Cookware

Even if your new home is equipped with appliances, you may still need to add a few items into the mix. For instance, a coffee maker, toaster, microwave or blender may be items you want for your kitchen. You will also need flatware, tableware and a quality dish drainer to hold your dishes that require the handwash method.

Tools

When you move into a new home, there will likely be some things to do that require the use of tools. Whether you need to assemble furniture, a desk for your office or just need to tighten some bolts here and there, a good set of tools is a necessity.

Personal Touches

No home is complete without personal touches that represent the new owner’s taste, so don’t forget to include them on your shopping list. Pictures, paintings, special window dressings, accent pillows, plants, decorative throws, accent rugs and bedding sets will create a custom interior that’s all about you. Other things to consider include portable air cleaners, water filters, an answering machine, wastebaskets and a bathroom plunger.

Outdoor Décor

If you like to entertain, equipping your backyard accordingly is a must. Patio furniture, an outdoor grill, landscaping tools and garden supplies are essential to creating an outdoor atmosphere that your family and friends are sure to love. Speaking of the outdoors, don’t forget to purchase a lawnmower and trimmer unless you live in a subdivision where lawn care is included in the maintenance fees. If you live in an area that’s prone to snowfall, keep this in mind when shopping for maintenance supplies.

The best way to tackle a large list of necessities is to keep a pad of paper nearby and write down each item as you think of it. Think about each area of your new home and do a mental inventory of what is needed. There will always be new items to add to the list, but you will cover the basics with your handy checklist of necessary items for your new home.

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What Is A Home Warranty Plan?

home warrantyA home warranty plan, also known as a home protection plan, is a service contract that offers homeowners a way to safeguard themselves against possible breakage or a malfunction within the home. It’s impossible to predict the future, which is why so many buyers look for that little extra peace of mind to comfort them when life unexpectedly throws them an unforeseen problem.

Who Needs A Home Warranty Plan

Basically, anyone who purchases a home and is concerned with the cost of repairs should consider a home warranty plan. This is especially true of first-time home buyers who may not be familiar with home maintenance.

Factoring In The Cost

When factoring in the potential cost of repairing a major appliance or other home component, a home warranty plan may not be a bad investment. The actual cost of warranty coverage will depend on the plan chosen and the items protected. As is the case with everything in life, it’s best to shop around and compare prices.

Who Pays For A Home Warranty Plan

As a buyer, you can order a home warranty plan in conjunction with the purchase of your home. However, some sellers or builders may include this type of offering as an incentive to attract potential buyers. In this case, the plan is yours at no additional cost. Some REALTORS® may also offer a home warranty plan as a gift to customers who buy a home through their agency.

What’s Covered & What’s Not

Just like a car warranty, no two policies are the same. Coverage varies by location and issuer, and your REALTOR® can help you to choose a warranty plan that best suits your needs. Most basic plans cover a home’s heating and cooling system, electrical system, plumbing, water heater and major appliances, including a dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop, garbage disposal, etc. Coverage does not apply to items that are misused or damaged, either intentionally or through negligence. Instead, most home warranty plans are designed to protect the homeowner from defects that result during the course of normal wear and tear.

When considering the purchase of a home warranty plan, review the complete contract and familiarize yourself with exactly what’s covered under your policy. If you want an upgraded policy, don’t hesitate to ask your REALTOR® if one is available. Most companies do not require a home inspection and will notify homeowners when their coverage is about to expire. The good news is that most policies are renewable.

What To Do If A Problem Arises

If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve an issue with your home warranty plan, either due to denial of a claim or undesirable service, talk to the REALTOR® who sold you the home. If he/she refers a lot of business to this particular company, it may be possible for him/her to speak with them about reaching an amicable resolution.

The purchase of a home is a big step and it’s likely to be the largest purchase you will ever make, so be sure to consider all of the options available to help protect yourself from costly repairs. Ask your REALTOR® for more information relating to available home warranty plans.

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