The Carroll Group's Blog
If you’re hunting for a new home, it can be tempting to make an appointment to view as many as possible. However, it can be a better use of your time to narrow down the search beforehand and eliminate houses from your list based on some at-home research. That way you can use those extra hours for fine-tuning your home search and make sure you visit only the houses that will suit your every need.
In this article, we’ll teach you some ways to research a home, neighborhood and town before you take the time to visit.
Things to Research about Your Potential New Neighborhood
So you’ve found a listing that looks nice. Your next step should be to find out as much as possible about the area the home is in to make sure it suits your needs.
A good first step is to head over to Google Maps to find out which amenities are in the area. Schools, banks, grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, parks… the list goes on. This is also a good time to map out how long it will take you on average to drive to work from this house and to see if it will lead you through any high-traffic areas that might affect your daily schedule.
You can also research other homes in the area to see if the house is selling higher or lower than average. This will give you a question to ask the real estate agent if you choose to reach out for further information.
Another step to take on Google for this home is to look up statistics for things like neighborhood crime, ratings for the school district, and the state of local businesses.
Is the area up-and-coming with healthy businesses and low crime? If so, it could be worth pursuing further.
If you’re planning on having children or already do, the quality of the education could be of importance to you.
Finally, get an idea of the local tax rates so you know how much you’ll owe the government for your property and excise taxes.
Researching the house itself
If you’re comfortable with the town and neighborhood, there’s still some research you can do online before you schedule a showing.
See if you can find out if the house belongs to a homeowner’s association. Look up their rules and fees to see if they’re agreeable to you and your family’s lifestyle and plans for the future.
Look up the sale history for the home. If there are several recent sales, this could be a sign of problems with the home or neighborhood. Similarly, if the price has increased or decreased dramatically more than nearby houses, consider asking the real estate agent why this is.
Finally, see if you can view the number of days the home has been on on the market, commonly abbreviated as “DOM.” This will give you some insight as to how desirable the home and neighborhood are.
Once you have all of the information at your disposal, you’ll be in a position to decide whether or not to schedule an appointment to view the home.
Purchasing a house can be tricky, particularly for those who are dealing with a high-pressure negotiation. Luckily, we're here to help you get the best results from any homebuying negotiation, at any time.
Now, let's take a three must-haves for those who are getting ready to negotiate a home purchase.
1. Housing Market Data
An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper. As such, this individual will obtain a large assortment of housing market data that he or she can use to make the best buying decision.
For homebuyers, it is important to understand how one house stacks up against comparable residences in any real estate market. That way, a homebuyer can submit a competitive offer that is based on pertinent housing market data.
Examine the prices of recently sold houses similar to the one that you'd like to buy. Also, check out the prices of comparable houses that are currently available. And with this housing market data at your disposal, you can boost your chances of getting the optimal price for your dream residence.
Let's face it – a homebuying negotiation is stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased many residences over the years. But if you remain confident throughout a negotiation, you can take a calm, cool and collected approach, even when times get tough.
A confident homebuyer will have no trouble standing his or her ground during a negotiation. And if this individual is uncomfortable with a home seller's counter-proposal, he or she will be willing to walk away and restart a home search.
Furthermore, a confident homebuyer will remain open to new ideas and consider the home seller's perspective. This will enable a homebuyer to examine both sides of a negotiation and proceed accordingly.
3. An Experienced Real Estate Agent
When it comes to negotiating a home purchase, there is no need to handle a negotiation on your own. Fortunately, an experienced real estate agent is happy to offer guidance at each stage of a homebuying negotiation.
An experienced real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a great home at an affordable price. As a result, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.
Typically, an experienced real estate agent will act as a liaison between a homebuyer and home seller. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about whether a home seller accepts or rejects your proposal to purchase a home. He or she also will provide recommendations and suggestions to help you transform a stressful negotiation into a successful one.
Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. He or she will provide you with the support you need to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout a homebuying negotiation.
Get ready for a homebuying negotiation – consider the aforementioned factors, and you can move one step closer to finalizing a home purchase.
A closing represents the final stage before a buyer acquires a house. At this point, a buyer and seller will meet and finalize an agreement. And if everything goes according to plan, a buyer will exit a closing as the owner of a new residence.
Ultimately, there are several steps that a buyer should complete to prepare for a home closing, and these are:
1. Review Your Home Financing
Typically, a lender will provide full details about your monthly mortgage payments for the duration of your home loan. This information is important, as it highlights exactly how much that you will be paying for your house.
Assess your home loan information prior to a closing. That way, if you have any home loan concerns or questions, you can address them before your closing day arrives.
If you allocate the necessary time and resources to review your home financing, you may be able to alleviate stress prior to closing day. In fact, once you know that all of your home financing is in order, you can enter a closing with the confidence that you'll be able to cover your mortgage expenses.
2. Perform a Final Walk-Through
A final walk-through provides a last opportunity to evaluate a residence before you complete your purchase. Thus, you will want to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that a seller has completed any requested repairs and guarantee that a house matches your expectations.
Oftentimes, a final walk-through requires only a few minutes to complete. The inspection generally may be completed a few days before a closing as well.
It is essential to keep in mind, however, that a final walk-through won't always go according to plan. If you give yourself plenty of time for a final walk-through, you should have no trouble getting the best-possible results.
Try to schedule a final walk-through at least a week before a closing. By doing so, you'll ensure that a seller can perform any requested repairs prior to closing day.
3. Get Your Paperwork Ready
During a home closing, you'll likely need to provide proof of home insurance, a government-issued photo ID and other paperwork. If you get required documents ready ahead of time, you won't have to scramble at the last minute to retrieve assorted paperwork for your closing.
If you need help preparing for a home closing, there is no need to worry. Real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent will help you find a house, submit an offer on it and conduct a house inspection. Plus, this housing market professional can provide recommendations throughout the homebuying process to help you achieve your desired results. And as closing day approaches, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions too.
Prepare for a home closing – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can seamlessly navigate the home closing process.
Do you have what it takes to be a responsive homebuyer? Ultimately, your ability to respond to requests from home sellers and others may dictate your homebuying success.
Becoming a responsive homebuyer can be easy – here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.
1. Learn About the Housing Market
A responsive homebuyer understands that he or she has a lot to learn about the housing market. As such, this individual will allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze the real estate sector.
Typically, a responsive homebuyer will perform comprehensive online research. This will help a homebuyer assess a broad range of residences so he or she can tailor a home search accordingly.
Let's not forget about a responsive homebuyer's diligence, either.
A responsive homebuyer may work with an expert real estate agent, i.e. a housing market professional who knows what it takes to land a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. By doing so, this homebuyer can boost his or her chances of streamlining the homebuying process.
2. Be Available
Are you ready to check out houses as soon as they become available? A responsive homebuyer should have no trouble tracking the housing market and staying up to date about new residences. That way, this individual can act quickly if he or she discovers the perfect home.
An informed approach can make a world of difference, and in most cases, separates a responsive homebuyer from an ordinary property buyer.
Usually, a responsive homebuyer will study the housing market closely and track new houses daily. This property buyer also may collaborate with a real estate agent who will keep him or her informed about new houses that become available.
Perhaps most important, a responsive homebuyer will be ready to accept phone calls, emails and texts throughout the homebuying cycle. He or she will even be open to communication with a home seller – something that may help this homebuyer acquire a first-rate house.
3. Offer Positive Responses to Feedback
Although a responsive homebuyer is eager to learn about the real estate sector, he or she won't pretend to be a housing market expert. In fact, this individual often is happy to receive feedback throughout the homebuying cycle.
A responsive homebuyer may consult with a real estate agent who can offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. This homebuyer may not always agree with a real estate agent's advice, but he or she also will listen to everything that a housing market professional has to say.
Becoming a responsive homebuyer may seem like an uphill climb. However, with support from a real estate agent, you may be able to accelerate the process of transforming your homeownership dream into a reality.
Real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide and serve as homebuying guides. These housing market professionals can help homebuyers find residences that they can enjoy for years to come.
Take the next step to become a responsive homebuyer – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to securing your ideal residence.
Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to your financial picture. You know how important it is to have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time and keep your debt down, you think that your score will be just fine, but this isn’t always the case. There are a few hidden mistakes that you could be making that are bringing your credit score down. Read on to find out what to avoid when trying to keep your credit score up and maintain it.
Too Many Credit Inquiries
Beware that every time you apply for a new loan or even just check on what type of interest rate you can get, your credit will be reviewed. You want to avoid too many credit inquiries because a high number will bring your credit score down. Always ask if a lender is pulling a hard inquiry to check your score, don’t allow too many of these credit checks.
Anything Small Can Make A Big Impact
Was there a mistake on a medical bill that you paid but it says it was unpaid? If you let this go, your credit score could be impacted. Even unreturned library books that have been turned over to collections can negatively affect your score. Stay on top of things because you never know how a small mishap can affect you.
Your Information Is Wrong
You should look at your credit report so that you can see more than just your history. You can see the information that is being reported to check for mistakes. Incorrect information can bring your credit score down. You can call the credit bureau that’s associated with any errors that you see on your credit report. It can be a little bit of a process to correct the mistakes on your credit report, but the time and effort is definitely worth it for your credit score.
Not Using your Credit
While using your credit too much is a problem, not making use of your credit at all can be a problem. Responsibly use your credit. Open a credit card and use it to make small purchases. Charge only things that you can afford and pay the balance off each month. This simple use of a card is one of the easiest ways to establish credit.
It’s important to do what you can to develop and maintain a healthy credit score. Keep all of your avenues covered to be sure that nothing hidden can negatively affect your credit score.