RE/MAX Professional Associates
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Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 7/21/2019

If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.

While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.

Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.

Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.

One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.

As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.

Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.





Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 1/6/2019

If you're an apartment renter ready to take the plunge into home ownership, there are a lot of reasons to be excited! Owning your own home does bring with it additional work and responsibilities, but the feeling of pride that accompanies it makes it all worthwhile!

Once you get used to the idea that "the buck stops here" and that there's no landlord to handle repairs and maintenance any more, it won't take long to get into the rhythm of being an established property owner. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your first experience with home ownership is a satisfying one.

  • Get a good real estate agent. A real estate professional can provide you with valuable guidance, advice, and information about houses you're considering in your desired neighborhoods and price ranges. A buyers' agent can help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying your first home and help you stay within budget. They'll assist you in clarifying your priorities and work on your behalf to find homes that meet your requirements. A service-oriented agent will not only point out the positive aspects of houses you're considering, but they'll also discuss ideas for adapting the home to your specific needs and lifestyle.
  • Hire an experienced property inspector. A seasoned home inspector can take a close look at the condition of the house and property you're considering and help make sure there are no major structural defects, safety issues, or operational problems with the home's systems and components. Although every property inspector approaches their job a little differently, their inspection service should include everything from the roof and foundation to the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. They may also report to you on the condition of the home's insulation, its exterior, and any existing or potential drainage problems on the property. Certain aspects of the house may be excluded from the inspection if it's difficult or unsafe to gain access to them. A top-notch home inspector can also provide useful insights into repairs that need to be made on the house. As a side note, professional property inspectors are often members of The American Society of Home Inspectors and follow the organization's Standards of Practice.
  • Visit a lot of different houses for sale before making a final decision. It also pays to have a checklist with you to keep track of how each house stacks up to your requirements and expectations.
While your emotions will invariably play a role in your final choice, many other factors should also be taken into account, including the character of the neighborhood, proximity to conveniences and shopping, and the quality of the school district. Your real estate agent and/or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can provide you with a handy checklist for evaluating and comparing homes for sale.





Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 12/23/2018

Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.

But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.

In todayís article, weíre going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, weíll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.

1. Shopping for homes preemptively

Once you decide that youíre interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, itís tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.

Itís best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?

Youíll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?

These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.

2. Not knowing your budget

Itís a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.

Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.

3. Borrowing the maximum amount

While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.

Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasnít worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.

4. Forgetting important expenses

If youíre currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which youíll have to budget for.

However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that youíll have to figure into your monthly budget.

5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt

While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, itís usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.

The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the sellerís interests. It isnít selfish to want to know exactly what youíre getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.





Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 12/16/2018

Thereís a lot that goes into the process of buying a new home. Buyers often think that once the closing process in complete they can move their stuff in and things will go back to normal. But they are often caught off guard throughout that first initial year by maintenance tasks. Tasks that they could have been prepared for at the beginning if only they had known. So today I want to talk about how to stay one step ahead when you first move in to avoid surprises months later or worse years down the line. For the most part, these should each take you all of ten minutes a few times a month.

Be sure to write in reminders on your calendar for monthly maintenance and annual inspections to stay on top of any issues that may arise. Maintenance is key to good homeownership. Youíll save money in the long run as you find and repair issues when they are still minor. Youíll be so glad you didnít find out the hard way - by a burst pipe or major crack in your foundation.

Speaking of maintenance and saving money, wait to invest in top to bottom renovations, especially those that are purely cosmetic. Buying a new home is a large investment and most families need time to bounce back financially from the buying and moving process. Funnel what finances you do have towards initial repairs that will need to be made. And since you no longer have a landlord to depend on when repairs need to be made it is wise to start building an emergency fund for future home repairs.

For initial repairs that will need to be made be sure to hire professionals to take care of any and all that are technical. Donít try to fix repairs yourself that you arenít qualified to do. And no a Google search isn't enough to qualify you to do electrical or plumbing work. Youíve just made a major investment. So ensure to protect that investment for years to come by having things done the right way the first time. This also saves you money in the long run from having a professional come to undo your mistakes and set it up the right way. Or worse, from medical bills.

Keep a binder to track and save receipts for all home improvements. Doing so will help you to maximize your tax-free earnings if and when you decide to sell your home. And while the line between home improvements and repairs can get vague in some areas itís best to track everything. Invest in an accountant, especially for your first year of homeownership, to help you sift through these receipts and maximize your returns. This binder will also come in handy for years to come. Youíll be able to refer back to when you purchased a new water heater or last had a home inspection done, for example.

Invest in sufficient home insurance. Not all basic plans include fire and flood protection. You will also need life insurance policies if you have dependents. This will ensure that if anything were to happen to you, your dependents would gain ownership of the house. And since you now own a large asset it is wise to ramp up your car insurance policy.

Donít get caught off guard. Take 10 minutes a few times each week after youíve closed on your house to set up these appointments and systems. For such a small amount of time, they have major pay off. And come tax season or time to make a repair youíll be so glad you did.





Posted by RE/MAX Professional Associates on 7/29/2018

The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. Youíre no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, thereís a lot to learn about buying a house. Youíll often hear homeowners say, ďI wish I knew that before buying this house.Ē So, in this article, weíre going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount theyíre approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses youíll need to account for in your budget.

Youíll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you wonít have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. Youíll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you donít get prequalified first.

3. This probably isnít your last home

While itís okay to dream about the future, donít set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Donít get too attached to your ďdream homeĒ

So, youíve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesnít, donít worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and thereís a good chance youíll like one even more than this one.

5. Donít waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies youíll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless youíre buying under special circumstances, youíll want to keep all three in your contract.