Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 1/29/2018


We know that location matters when youíre trying to find the right home to buy, but why?  First, buying a home you like in a location that matches your needs is a sign of a solid, long-term investment. Finding the right home isnít always the answer to your property search woes. Many times, finding a house that needs a little TLC in the right neighborhood can give you a better return on your investment than finding a move-in ready house in the wrong neighborhood. You want to think in terms of finding a home that will be easy to sell if you so choose to sell it. Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable in your home and in your surroundings. What are the signs of a good location? Below, youíll find the most important things you should look for when searching for a home. 


Safe Neighborhood


Everyone wants a safe neighborhood, and you certainly know a sketchy neighborhood when you drive through it, but what denotes a neighborhood as ďsafeĒ? First, if you see people up and walking around a place, you know itís a good start to finding a safe neighborhood. People who are outside, interacting with one another give a neighborhood a community feel. You will feel like your neighbors have your back in a neighborhood like this. 


Quality Schools


the better the school district is, the higher the property values in the area are. If you donít have kids, this may not be much of an issue for you. However, if youíre thinking that you may want to sell your home anytime in the future, keep in mind that a less than reputable school district can really dip into property values. 


You Can Easily Access The Things You Need


If you can access the shops, restaurants, and other conveniences easily from your neighborhood, thatís the sign of a good location. No one wants to have to drive 45 minutes in order to get to the grocery store. Many people who are looking for homes like to be in or very close to the action and have easy access to the things they need. Think in terms of convenience when it comes to location. 


A View And Nature


A home with a view is always a sign of a great location. whether youíre near the water or near the mountains, itís nice to have something scenic and peaceful near your home to enjoy. Property values near the water are also always a bit higher than those further inland.


Transportation    


Access to public transportation is key in many neighborhoods. You want to be able to easily get to and from where you need to go without waiting around. If the area is more suburban or rural, access to freeways and main roads is key. Adding precious time to your commutes is never pleasant. Many times location and commute times come down to a simple matter of balance and planning when searching for a property.        





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 1/22/2018

Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.

Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, arenít sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that theyíre afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but donít know the right ones to ask.

In this article, weíll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. Weíll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.

Contingency clauses

Before closing on a home, itís important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a ďdue diligence contingency.Ē This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.

Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.

After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.

Before the inspection

Once youíve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, itís time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.

Youíll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, itís a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional youíve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.

During the inspection

The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.

They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.

The parts of your home the inspector will review include:

  • Roof

  • Exterior Walls

  • Foundation

  • Garage

  • Land grading

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning

  • Appliances

There are some things your inspection wonít include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that arenít easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.

After the inspection

Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.

You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.


Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 1/1/2018

For many of us, it can seem like our paychecks are gone before we even get a chance to see them. With seemingly endless bills and expenses, both recurring and unforeseen, saving up for a house is a daunting task.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prepare yourself for those intimidating down payments and many closing costs.

In this article, weíre going to walk you through how you can start saving for a home right this moment. After all, every day is another day you could be contributing to your savings and taking another step closer to owning your own home.

Use a Budgeting Tool

The first step to saving and determining how much you can save is to start budgeting. Many people hear the term ďbudgetĒ and get nervous thinking theyíll have to start counting the number of coffees they buy. However, there are less anxiety-inducing ways to budget.

From your phone, tablet, or computer you have access to a large number of free budgeting tools. Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and PocketGuard are three of the top budgeting tools that will get you started.

With apps that integrate with your bank accounts and loan balances,  there is little work required on your part. Just set an amount to save each week or month, and direct the funds into your savings account.

Set up a dedicated savings account

Speaking of savings accounts--now is a great time to set up a new one. Itís almost always free to open a new account with your bank. Whatís more, itís a lot less tempting to pull from a savings account when itís labeled something like ďHOUSE SAVINGS - DO NOT TOUCH.Ē

Once you have your budgeting app and bank account set up, itís time to dig into some of the ways you can save money without skipping meals.

Cutting Monthly Expenses

Rather than telling yourself you canít buy any more fancy Starbucks drinks anymore until you have a house (donít torture yourself), make a list of all your monthly expenses. That can include anything from Netflix and Spotify to haircuts and car washes.

A great way to make this list is to go through your credit and debit card transactions. If you have autopay set up, you might not even realize how many services are withdrawing directly from your accounts each month.

For each item on your list, determine if you can either eliminate the expense or spend less on it. Maybe you go for the deluxe car war rather than the basic. Or, you might pay for services you donít use as much as you used to.

If youíre worried about having no entertainment if you drop Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, you could try out your local library system. Most of the time you can have books, movies, and music shipped for free from all around your state.

When it comes to cable, cell phone plans, car insurance, and other monthly bills give your provider a call and tell them youíre thinking about switching over to a cheaper competitor. Theyíll likely offer you a discounted rate. If they donít, follow through on your promise and call other providers to see if you can get better rates.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 12/18/2017

Submitting a "fair" offer on your dream home may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine what it takes to submit a fair offer on a home that increases the likelihood that a home seller will accept your proposal without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure that a first-time homebuyer can submit a fair offer on a house.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

Are you preparing to submit an offer in a buyer's market or a seller's market? Ultimately, the current state of the housing market may help you define a fair proposal based on the sector's conditions.

For example, a buyer's market frequently includes an abundance of top-notch residences and a shortage of homebuyers. In this market, you may be able to submit an offer at or below a home seller's initial asking price and receive an instant "Yes."

On the other hand, a seller's market usually features a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundances of homebuyer. As such, you may need to submit an offer at or above a home seller's initial asking price if you want to secure your dream residence.

For first-time homebuyers who analyze the housing market closely, they should be able to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market. That way, a first-time homebuyer can determine fair market value for a residence and submit an offer that corresponds to it.

2. Evaluate Your Homebuying Budget

There is no need to overspend for a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. But with a homebuying budget in hand, a first-time homebuyer can resist the urge to pay too much to acquire an outstanding residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage often provides a great option for those who are uncertain about how much they can spend on a home. This budget will enable a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search based on the finances at his or her disposal.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of your mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your budget and move one step closer to acquiring a terrific residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-have for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. This housing market professional can teach you about the intricacies of buying a house and help you submit a fair offer on a residence any time you choose.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and help you overcome any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at your convenience.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and by doing so, a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on a residence.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 11/20/2017

Buying a home should be simple. Unfortunately, purchasing a residence can become complicated quickly, especially if you fail to consider the immediate and long-term costs associated with a house.

Ultimately, there are many hidden expenses that a homebuyer needs to consider before he or she purchases a house, including:

1. Utilities

Heating and cooling costs, water fees, electricity expenses and other utility bills may prove to be overwhelming if you're not careful. Fortunately, if you learn about various utility costs now, you may be better equipped to keep your utility bills in check at your new residence.

Ask your real estate agent for information about a home seller's utility bills. By doing so, you can get a better idea about how much your utilities may cost if you decide to purchase a particular residence.

Also, if you plan ahead for your utility bills, you can budget accordingly. Keep in mind that utilities are essential in any home. As such, you'll need to account for these costs in addition to your monthly mortgage payments, regardless of the home you buy.

2. Commuting

If you're moving to a new city or town, you'll want to consider how your move may impact your daily commute to work, school or any other locations that you visit regularly.

Consider a home's proximity to highways. If you move to a house that is located near a major highway, you may encounter heavy traffic at various points throughout the day, resulting in a lengthy commute.

Also, find out whether public transportation is available near your new home. In some instances, you may be able to take advantage of buses, trains and other public transportation options to get where you need to go without delay.

3. Home Upgrades

Although a home may appear to be a dream come true, there are problems beneath a house's exterior that could bubble to the surface after you complete your purchase. Thus, you may want to put aside money for home upgrades that may be necessary in the near future.

For example, an older home may require a new hot water heater and furnace soon. And if you start saving for a new hot water heater and furnace today, you may be able to replace them before it's too late.

A home inspector can help you identify home problems. This professional will conduct an in-depth review of a residence and provide honest feedback about any problems that could escalate quickly.

After a home inspection, you can always ask the home seller to perform the necessary repairs, or you can walk away from a home offer. On the other hand, you can keep your current home offer, move forward with your home purchase and complete the upgrades on your own.

When it comes to planning ahead for hidden home expenses, a real estate agent can point you in the right direction. Your real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions and will do everything possible to ensure you are fully satisfied with any residence you purchase.







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