Molly Hood Monette's Blog
It’s not always easy to move up to that dream home. Finding that special place that meets all your needs AND fulfills all your desires requires clarity on your part and diligence on the part of your real estate professional. After all, if you don’t know what you both need and what you want, your agent certainly won’t know what to look for.
The “I’ll know it when I see it” concept of house-hunting is rarely fruitful unless you define “it” clearly.
Make a list
Grab a notebook or use your smartphone to keep a list of what you need and what you want. The list will grow and even change over time, so keep the notebook with you. You'll find inspiration in something you see on the television while you wait in the dentist's office, and you need to write it down immediately.
Take a shot
You’ll walk through a store display and see "just the thing" that goes with the design in your head. Snap a picture of what you like with your phone so you have it on hand.
If while walking through an open house, a certain style connects with you, but you don’t know how to describe it, take a photo so you can show your agent. Even if that house doesn’t have ALL the things you want, some house might.
Have an open mind
If a property has most of what you want, be open to the possibility of a limited renovation to get the rest. The important thing is its bones; it’s basic structure. Some designs lend themselves to easy add-ons, but most don’t, so if the home you choose has a complicated roofline, make sure it also has the room inside to make your layout changes since adding on is more difficult. On the other hand, simple structures such as ranch-style or mid-century modern might more easily accommodate the addition you envision.
Keep options open
Consider pairing up a renovation contractor with your real estate agent to determine if your changes work with an available listing. Similar to what you see on home-buying television shows, getting a contractor’s expert eye on the property could mean the difference between finding the home with the right structure or missing out entirely getting what you really want.
Find out if your agent can suggest a reputable contractor or find one through a friend or verified listing service. Even if your dream home isn’t already out there … it can be.
Although your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work involved in selling your home, there are several things you, the homeowner, can do to help move things along.
By making sure your home is always ready to be shown at a moments notice to prospective buyers, you will be helping to "tip the scales" in the direction of a faster sale. Since making a great first impression is crucial to the sales process, it's important that your home always looks its best -- both inside and out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you decide to put your home on the market.
Order versus chaos: Every time your real estate agent sets up a showing of your house, it's an opportunity to attract and engage potential buyers. When your house and property look organized, clean, and well cared for, it sends a series of positive messages to prospects.
Admittedly, it can be a little bit of a hassle to keep your house looking (and smelling) immaculate all the time, but doing so can definitely work in your favor when it comes to making a great impression and getting your house sold faster.
To the extent that it's possible, try to eliminate or significantly reduce anything that could be described as "clutter." Clutter can include anything from excessive furniture and wall hangings to knick-knacks on your shelves and too many containers on kitchen countertops.
The ultimate effect you want to achieve is one of spaciousness, tastefulness, and organization. Anything which detracts from those desirable qualities could potentially work against you. As the classic 1980s TV commercial for a well-known dandruff shampoo reminds us: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
Remember curb appeal: Actually the real first impression happens before prospective buyers even enter your home or step on your property. In many cases, it occurs before they even get out of their cars!
Making sure your house and property look as impeccable as possible from the street can help attract potential buyers and put them in a more receptive state of mind. Maintaining a manicured, clutter-free lawn, highlighted by a few splashes of floral color, can be an effective way to create eye-appeal and make a positive first impression.
One thing home sellers are either unaware of or forget about is the fact that prospective buyers sometimes do a preliminary "drive by" before picking up the phone and calling your (or their) real estate agent to schedule a showing. If they do not like what they see from their car, they probably are not going to take the next step and arrange a full tour of your home.
When you come to the realization that every person who drives by or visits your home is a potential buyer, you'll be more motivated to take care of the many details that either attract of send away prospective buyers.
Ready to purchase a high-quality residence for the first time? Ultimately, a first-time homebuyer will want to do everything possible to learn about the real estate market. By doing so, this property buyer can improve his or her chances of submitting a strong offer on a dream house, thereby increasing the likelihood of a quick, easy home sale.
Submitting a strong initial offer on a home can be simple – here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer do just that.
1. Study the Current Housing Market Closely
A first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about both buyer's and seller's markets. That way, a homebuyer can identify an opportunity to secure a terrific residence in any housing market and submit a competitive offer right away.
To analyze the real estate market, spend some time looking at the prices of homes that were recently sold in your city or town. This housing market data may help you differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Furthermore, don't forget to check out the prices of houses that are currently available. With this housing market data in hand, you can better understand what it means to submit a strong offer that matches or exceeds a home seller's initial asking price.
2. Get a Mortgage in Advance
A first-time homebuyer definitely should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget that he or she can use to narrow a home search.
To obtain a mortgage, a homebuyer only needs to meet with banks and credit unions in his or her area. Each lender meeting is exceedingly valuable, as it enables a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and receive answers to any mortgage questions.
In addition, those who are pre-approved for a mortgage will know exactly how much money they can spend on a house. And as a result, these homebuyers can submit a competitive offer on a residence from the get-go, improving their chances of securing a first-rate residence in no time at all.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-hire for a first-time homebuyer, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
Thanks to a real estate agent, a first-time homebuyer can differentiate between a strong offer and a "lowball" one. In fact, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a homebuyer can get the best price on a house, regardless of whether this property buyer is operating in a buyer's or seller's market.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she can provide expert insights to help a homebuyer determine exactly how much to offer to acquire his or her dream residence.
When it comes to buying a house for the first time, there's no need to leave anything to chance. Instead, use these tips, and a first-time homebuyer can submit a strong offer and move one step closer to purchasing a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
If, on the other hand, you adopt more of an isolated lifestyle, then the experience of home ownership may be a lot less fulfilling.
Taking the time to have a friendly chat with your neighbors, once in a while, can produce both immediate and long-term advantages. While not everyone has a gregarious, outgoing personality, making the occasional effort to say hello can open the door to a variety of benefits.
Home Security: The best neighborhoods are those in which everyone looks out for one another. When you know your neighbors on a first-name basis, they'll be a lot more likely to keep an eye on your house and let you (or the police) know when they observe any suspicious activity. It's also nice to feel comfortable enough to be able to ask your neighbors to watch your property while you're away -- either for the weekend or when you're on vacation. Even in low-crime areas, burglaries and vandalism has been known to happen, so it's in everyone's best interest to know their neighbors and be ready to help. Although Neighborhood Watch groups are not active everywhere, there's no reason why people still can't be alert and responsive to loitering, trespassing, or other questionable activity.
Networking Benefits: You may not need a plumber, electrician, or a reasonably priced HVAC technician, right now, but sooner or later, you will -- guaranteed! There may also come a time when you need emergency child care or fast help jump-starting your vehicle. You're probably not going to approach your neighbors for help if you don't know them, but there's a good chance you will if you do have a rapport. By sharing information, resources, and recommendations with neighbors, you'll be paving the way for a mutually beneficial relationship. While you may or may not become best friends, it's nice to know that there's someone nearby you can count on for support and help.
Feeling of community: Although some neighborhoods have a more friendly, close-knit feeling than others, it's often easy to break the ice with neighbors when you're outside -- either doing yard work, walking your dog, or going for a stroll. By taking the initiative to welcome new people into the neighborhood, you'll not only have a positive impact on their lives, but you might even forge a new, long-term friendship. You can also make social connections by chatting with people at yard sales, block parties, or by joining and being active in neighborhood Facebook or Nextdoor groups. While it may feel easier to just keep to yourself and avoid venturing outside of your comfort zone, becoming part of a larger community in your neighborhood (and beyond) is often much more rewarding!