Our Real Estate Blog
When choosing a house or condo to live in for the next several years, comfort, convenience, and affordability are among the most important factors to keep in mind. A fourth item that many real estate agents would add to that list is "location."
The location of your next home is crucial for many reasons -- not the least of which is future resale value. Ideally, you want the value of your home to appreciate over time, which will help improve your financial situation. Whether you decide to upgrade or downsize in your next real estate purchase, the equity you've built up can benefit both your lifestyle goals and real estate objectives.
In addition to the investment features of picking a good location for your next home, there are also several other worthwhile advantages.
- A reasonable commute time, preferable under a half an hour, will help reduce your stress level, enable you to spend more time with your family, and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. A short commute can also help you save money on gas, highway tolls, depreciation, and insurance. One way to reduce your driving time is to look into telecommuting possibilities at your job. Even if you have a relatively long commute to work, that can be offset by having the freedom to work from home a couple days a week. Fortunately, more and more businesses are realizing the mutual benefits of allowing or even encouraging telecommuting. While it may be necessary to prove to your employer that your productivity won't suffer when you're working from home, doing so can save you money, lower your stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Let's face it: There are a lot more fulfilling things you can do with your time than getting stuck in traffic jams and feeling frazzled when you return home every night!
- A convenient location can also mean proximity to shopping, entertainment, recreation, family, friends, and places of worship. Being close to medical, dental, and veterinary services can also make your life a lot easier -- especially when you need to get there quickly.
- From a health and fitness standpoint, it also pays to live within a short distance to public parks, tennis courts, golf courses, bike paths, gyms, and bodies of water for swimming, kayaking, and other aquatic sports.
- For younger families, being close to childcare resources -- whether it be a daycare center or nearby (and available) relative -- can also be a major factor in getting to work on time, making sure your children are properly cared for, and minimizing chaos in your life!
Let's face it – all homebuyers want to enjoy a fast, successful property buying experience. Yet transforming this vision into a reality can be difficult for first-time and experienced property buyers alike. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.
1. Understand the Challenges Associated with Pursuing a Home
Planning ahead for the homebuying journey generally is a good idea. That way, you can identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve these issues before they escalate.
Oftentimes, it helps to craft a homebuying strategy. This plan enables you to map out each stage of the homebuying journey, and by doing so, prepare for any challenges that may come your way.
You also may want to create a list of homebuying criteria. This list will make it simple to narrow your house search, and as a result, ensure you can discover your ideal residence without delay.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
You know you want to purchase a house, but you still have no idea about how you will pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with your finances in order.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and help you determine which mortgage option best suits your individual needs.
Furthermore, you should review all of your mortgage options closely. Because if you understand your mortgage options, you can make an informed mortgage selection that will serve you well for years to come.
3. Hire an Expert Real Estate Agent
If you want to simplify the homebuying journey, you should hire an expert real estate agent. In fact, with an expert real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to quickly and effortlessly make your homeownership dream come true.
A real estate agent is a homebuying professional who is happy to share his or her expertise with you. Therefore, if you have any concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them immediately. And if you are uncertain about how to proceed at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can offer data-driven recommendations as well.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide when you decide to submit an offer to purchase a home too. At this time, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase. Or, if your proposal is rejected, a real estate agent will help you reenter the real estate market.
Take the guesswork out of acquiring your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, successful property buying experience.
If you recently listed your home, you may expect many offers to purchase to come your way in the near future. However, the house selling journey can be difficult to navigate, and there are many signs that indicate offers to purchase your home may be unlikely to arrive any time soon. These signs include:
1. Homebuyers are not scheduling showings.
Homebuyers often set up showings to view residences. And if buyers like what they see during a showing, these individuals may request a second showing or submit an offer to purchase a house.
Comparatively, a seller who receives no home showing requests for many days, weeks or months after listing a residence may be in trouble. This seller may need to perform home upgrades to help his or her residence stand out from the competition. Or, the seller may need to lower his or her house's initial asking price.
2. Homebuyers are not attending open houses.
An open house event is designed to provide buyers with an enjoyable experience. The event allows buyers to walk through a residence at their own pace. And if a buyer likes a house, he or she may request a one-on-one showing or submit an offer to purchase.
On the other hand, if no buyers attend an open house, a seller may need to modify his or her property selling strategy. This individual should consider the buyer's perspective closely and think about why buyers may choose to avoid his or her residence. Then, the seller can tweak his or her house selling strategy accordingly.
3. Comparable houses in your area continue to sell.
If a seller finds his or her residence lingers on the real estate market while similar houses sell quickly, there may be one or many problems with this individual's house. Although a seller may wonder why his or her house fails to stir up interest from buyers, a real estate agent can offer expert support. In fact, a seller can work with a real estate agent to determine the best course of action to promote his or her house to the right buyers.
Typically, a real estate agent meets with a house seller and helps this individual craft a property selling strategy. A real estate agent and home seller work hand-in-hand to figure out how to list a house, showcase it to buyers and maximize the residence's value. And when a real estate agent and home seller put a home selling plan into action, the results can be significant.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides once a seller receives an offer to purchase, either. At this point, a home seller may be uncertain about what to do. But a real estate agent will help a home seller review all possible options and make an informed decision.
Simplify the house selling cycle – hire a real estate agent, and you can get the help you need to generate interest in your home as soon as it becomes available.
If you are in hot pursuit of your dream home, it is important to do everything you can to gain a leg up on the competition. That way, you can acquire your ideal residence as quickly as possible.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you gain a competitive advantage over your homebuying rivals.
1. Keep Track of the Local Housing Market
The top houses sell immediately, and as such, you may need to act fast to find and purchase your dream residence. If you keep track of the local housing market, however, you will be better equipped than other buyers to instantly acquire a house that suits you perfectly.
Monitor the housing market in cities and towns where you want to reside. Then, if you find a house you may want to buy, don't hesitate to set up a showing. And if you like what you see, you should submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Entering the housing market with pre-approval for a mortgage usually is a good idea. Because if you know how much you can spend on a residence, you can tailor your house search accordingly.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. Find out what mortgage options are available, and learn how different types of home financing work. Next, you can select a mortgage that enables you to begin your house search with a budget in hand.
Of course, if you have any concerns or questions about home financing, you should address them right away. If you speak with mortgage specialists at a bank or credit union, you can get the insights you need to make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who is shopping for a residence in a fierce housing market. Typically, a real estate agent will work with a buyer to craft an in-depth property buying strategy. A real estate agent and homebuyer then will work together to put this plan into action and streamline the property buying journey.
In addition, a real estate agent offers guidance at each stage of the homebuying cycle. He or she first will help you hone your home search to a select group of cities and towns. A real estate agent next will keep you informed about houses that become available that match your homebuying criteria. If you find a house you want to purchase, a real estate agent will help you submit an aggressive property buying proposal. And if your offer to buy a home is accepted, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to finalize your house purchase.
As you get ready to pursue your dream residence, you should devote plenty of time and resources to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prep for the homebuying journey, gain a competitive advantage over rival buyers and accelerate your house search.
Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.
With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.
1. Refinance your mortgage
If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.
If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.
This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.
But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.
2. Make extra payments
An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.
Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.
3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year
Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.
The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.
This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.
On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.
Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.