Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 6/25/2018

Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.

As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.

A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.

You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.

Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.

Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.

Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 6/11/2018

If you're on the fence about whether to attend an open house, there is no need to worry. Ultimately, it is always better to err on the side of caution, especially if you're on the hunt for your dream home. And if you attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine whether a particular residence is right for you.

There are many reasons why you should attend an open house, and these include:

1. You can assess a house both inside and out.

An open house provides a stress-free opportunity to walk through a house and examine it on your own. As such, an open house is a can't-miss event, particularly for a homebuyer who is actively seeking the perfect residence.

Of course, an open house enables you to learn about a home's condition both inside and out. And if you find that you like a home after you attend an open house, you can always set up a one-on-one home showing with a seller's agent or submit an offer to purchase.

2. You can envision what life may be life if you purchase a particular home.

It's one thing to look at pictures of a home and imagine what it would be like to live there. However, homebuyers who want to do everything possible to find the right residence should attend an open house to fully capture what it may be like if they purchase a particular residence.

Remember, how a home makes you feel can have far-flung effects on your decision about whether to submit an offer. And if you attend an open house, you may quickly discover whether you can picture yourself as the owner of a residence. Or, if you find that you are uncomfortable with a home, you can instantly move on and pursue other houses.

3. You can obtain home insights that you won't necessarily find in a house listing.

A home listing often contains details about a home's age, recent house upgrades and other pertinent information. But a home listing alone rarely provides you with all of the insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to submit a homebuying proposal.

During an open house, you can ask a seller's agent lots of questions about a residence. This will enable you to obtain insights that you otherwise may struggle to discover in a home listing. And as a result, you'll be able to make the best-possible decision about how to proceed with a residence.

Clearly, there are many reasons to consider attending an open house. If you need extra help as you pursue residences and debate whether to attend open houses, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to find your ideal residence in no time at all.




Categories: Open House   Buying a Home  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 6/4/2018

If you have plans to buy a house as quickly as possible, it is important to maintain flexibility. That way, you can adjust your homebuying timeline at a moment's notice.

Ultimately, there are many instances where you may need to modify your homebuying timeline, and these include:

1. You are struggling to identify your dream home.

It generally is beneficial to enter the housing market with homebuying criteria. These criteria can help you hone your house search and may be modified as you attend home showings and open house events.

Also, think about where you want to purchase a house. If you would prefer to own a home in a big city, you can tailor your house search accordingly. Or, if you want to live in a small town, you can focus exclusively on residences in areas that match or exceed your expectations.

Even with homebuying criteria in hand, however, changes to your homebuying timeline may be required. But if you remain patient and persistent throughout the homebuying journey, you can eventually discover your dream house.

2. Home sellers are rejecting your offers to purchase.

Once you find your dream residence, you may submit an offer to purchase it. Yet if your offer fails to hit the mark with a home seller, you are unlikely to receive an instant "Yes."

If you find that your offers to purchase houses are rejected time and time again, you may need to adjust your homebuying timeline. Furthermore, you may want to rethink your homebuying strategy.

To submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you should consider a house's condition and age, as well as the current state of the real estate market. This information can help you craft an offer to purchase that accounts for a variety of factors and likely will meet the needs of both you and a home seller.

If a home seller rejects your offer to purchase a house, there is no need to worry. Remember, the real estate market offers many opportunities, and homebuyers who are diligent can continue to search for the right house at the right price.

3. You have yet to find the right real estate agent.

A real estate agent may hold the key to a successful homebuying journey. He or she can help you set realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can achieve the optimal results.

If you need to adjust your homebuying timeline, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you decide to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together an aggressive homebuying proposal.

Ready to streamline your home search? Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to pursue your ideal residence.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 5/28/2018

Deciding whether to submit an offer to purchase a house may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of submitting a homebuying proposal so you can make the best-possible decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to submit an offer to purchase a residence.

1. Evaluate Your Budget

If you believe you've found your dream home, you should take a look at your budget. That way, you can verify whether you'll be able to afford this residence both now and in the future.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start a house search. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that allows you to pursue a house with a budget in hand.

2. Consider Your Homebuying Criteria

You want to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come. If you have a list of homebuying criteria, you may be able to quickly determine whether a residence is right for you.

As you craft homebuying criteria, think about what you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you've always wanted to own a house on a beach, you can narrow your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you would like to own a home that has an above-ground swimming pool but can live without this feature if necessary, you should include an above-ground swimming pool as a low-priority item on your homebuying checklist.

3. Assess the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates, and a buyer's market today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. You then can decide whether to submit an offer to purchase or hold off on providing a homebuying proposal until housing market conditions improve.

To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, it generally is a good idea to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. You also should find out how long these residences were available before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can assess the demand for houses in your city or town.

Lastly, as you debate whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you perform an in-depth evaluation of a home and determine whether to offer to buy this house.

Make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide how to proceed with any house, at any time.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 5/21/2018

Buying your first home is probably one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. But, it does come with its advantages. Among them are tax breaks and deductions that you can take advantage of to save money if you play your cards right.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover some of the tax breaks and deductions that first-time homeowners should seek out this tax season to help them lower their tax bill.

Mortgage points

While earning points is a good thing on the basketball court, it can be a financial drain on a mortgage. Mortgage points are what buyers pay to the lender to secure their loan. They’re usually given as percentage points of the total loan amount.

If you pay these points with your closing costs, then they are deductible. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their IRS Form 1040 can typically deduct all of the points they paid in a year, with the exception of some high-income taxpayers whose itemized deductions are limited.

PMI costs

If you’re one of the many people who made a down payment of less than 20% on your home, odds are that you’re going to be stuck with PMI, or private mortgage insurance, until you pay off at least 20% of the loan balance.

The good news is that homebuyers who purchased their home in the year 2007 and after can deduct their PMI premiums. However, the state on premium insurance deductibles is something that frequently comes up in Congress, so homeowners should ensure that these deductions are still valid when filing their taxes.

Mortgage interest

Mortgage interest accounts for the biggest deduction for the average homeowner. When you receive your Form 1098 from your lender, you can deduct the total amount of interest you’ve paid during the year.

Property taxes

Another deductible that shouldn’t be overlooked by first-time buyers is local property taxes. Save the records for any property taxes you pay so that you can deduct them during tax season.

Home energy tax credits

Some states are offering generous tax credits for homeowners who make home improvements that save energy. There are a number of improvements you might qualify for, including things like insulation and roofs, as well as photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

IRA Withdrawals

Many first-time buyers withdraw from an IRA account to be able to make a larger down payment on their home or to pay for closing costs. In most other cases, withdrawing from an IRA will count as taxable income. However, if your IRA withdrawal is used toward a down payment or closing costs, the tax penalty is waived.


Keep these tax breaks and deductions in mind this tax season to help you save money and get a larger refund.







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