Key Traits of a Buyer’s Market

For homebuyers, there may be nothing better than searching for a house in a buyer’s market. Typically, a buyer’s market is defined by several key characteristics, including:

1. Shortage of Homebuyers

In a seller’s market, competition among homebuyers remains fierce. Therefore, a homebuyer may be forced to compete against several homebuyers to secure his or her dream home.

Comparatively, a buyer’s market features a shortage of homebuyers, resulting in less competition for quality residences. As a homebuyer, this is ideal because it means that you may be able to improve your chances of securing a great house at a price that matches your budget.

If you’re a homebuyer in a buyer’s market, the ball is in your court. As such, you should take your time exploring the housing market and find a residence that suits your budget and lifestyle perfectly. By doing so, you likely will be able to secure your dream home without having to worry about the stress of competing against other homebuyers or exceeding your budget.

2. Abundance of Home Sellers

A buyer’s market may be a tough time for home sellers. At this time, there may be many homes available, and home sellers might need to reduce the prices of their residences to stir up interest.

Meanwhile, an abundance of home sellers ensures there is a large supply of homes available. This may make it easier for a homebuyer to check out many terrific homes and find one at a below-average price.

Although a buyer’s market presents many opportunities for homebuyers, it is important to avoid taking shortcuts. Instead, a homebuyer should devote ample time and resources to assess homes that meet his or her criteria and respond accordingly.

Furthermore, homebuyers should avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a residence – even in a buyer’s market. If you submit an offer that falls below a home seller’s expectations, you may miss out on the chance to acquire your dream home altogether.

3. Steady Supply of Real Estate Agents

When it comes to shopping for a home in a buyer’s market, working with a real estate agent is a great idea. A real estate agent can provide you with plenty of information about first-rate residences that you can enjoy for years to come. Plus, a real estate professional may be able to offer insights into a home that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, making it simple for you to purchase a top-notch home at a bargain price.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent can offer recommendations throughout the homebuying journey. He or she also will be able to respond to any concerns or questions you have, ensuring you can remain calm, cool and collected as you transition from homebuyer to homeowner.

Employ a real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey in a buyer’s or seller’s market. With a real estate professional at your side, you can navigate the challenges of the real estate market and secure your dream house without delay.

How To Find Art For Your Home Like An Adult

Decorating your home as an adult can be a taxing task. Transitioning from a college student to a professional can take some time. Once you buy your first home, you may find that your tastes for decorating need an upgrade. Those old posters and funny magnets have got to go along with your more sophisticated lifestyle. The decor in your home should make you feel comfortable in your surroundings. You should express your own personal interests through the artwork that’s displayed in your home. 

Pieces of artwork shouldn’t just be run-of-the-mill. You need something that will let your personality shine through. You can collect unique pieces in your travels, use personal photographs that you have taken, or simply find things that have meaning for you.

It can be sort of intimidating to dive into a more mature way of decorating but, it can be very rewarding. You’ll also learn a lot about your own style and yourself. Through this self-discovery, you’ll find artwork that you can continue to grow with in your home. Below, you’ll find some tips for choosing the right artwork for your home. 

Set A Budget

Buying artwork can be an investment. If you’re a new homeowner, you may need to hold back on getting expensive art for a few years. Set a limit for how much art you want to buy and what you can afford. There are plenty of ways to get decorating pieces for your home for less money. Many stores offer artwork that can add some character to your walls. Even if these aren’t Picasso originals, they can certainly add some flair to the emptiness of a new house. Everything that adds personality to your home isn’t hanging on a wall either. Your decor includes the small figures on your tables, statues, plants, and more.  

Have Goals In Mind

If you begin hanging artwork without some reason, your decorating scheme could end up being a disaster. Map out a plan for each room. Think of themes, colors palettes, and the vision for the space. You don’t want to make a serious investment in artwork only to find out that it doesn’t fit with your wall color or furniture. When choosing artwork, it’s important to consider each room as a whole. 

Know That Tastes Change Over Time 

If you do invest in an expensive piece of artwork, know that it may not suit your needs forever. That’s OK! You can always sell artwork and find replacement pieces over time. It’s not expected that whatever you hang in your home when you move in will stay there for the next 20 years! Artwork very much flows with our lives, so go with the flow.              

How To Know When It Makes More Sense To Buy Than Rent

Renting is a great short-term housing solution for millions of Americans each year. And, for those who don’t want the responsibilities of homeownership, it can also serve as a longterm lifestyle for those uninterested in equity. However, if you do hope to someday purchase a home, there are several reasons it is one of the best financial decisions in the long run.

Finding out when is the right time to buy a home is a difficult question to ask yourself. You’ll have to consider your current budget and future financial goals, your employment situation, and personal lifestyle preferences.

In today’s post, I’m going to discuss several of these considerations to help you determine if now is the time to buy a home or if you should continue renting for the time being.

Mortgage rates through history

One of the features of homebuying that is largely out of your control is the historical average mortgage interest rates.

While your specific rate will be based on things like your income and credit score, as well as the type of mortgage you choose, real estate trends will also have an impact on the rate that lenders use.

Rates are, on average, lower in the last five years than they were throughout the 80s, 90s, and 00s. With rates under 4%, these levels are unprecedented in the last 3 decades. However, last year did see a slight increase to 4.1%.

What are your long and short-term plans?

Many people who are considering buying their first homes are more concerned with whether it’s  financially feasible than if it fits into their life and career goals.

Before you start shopping for houses and contacting lenders, it’s a good idea to sit down with your family or significant other and start thinking about a timeline.

First, are you prepared to live in your next home for 5-7 years? This a good baseline for the amount of time you need to stay in a home to make it worth the costs.

Next, would you have better career or education prospects if you were to move elsewhere in a few years?

Of course, these questions are not objective–you may never know for sure which is the best decision. However, having the conversation is vital to moving forward.

Are you prepared for the extra workload?

Homeownership is work. Aside from just having to mow the lawn and take out the garbage, you’ll also be responsible for repairs and maintenance that previously your landlord was required to do.

The good news is you can learn most things on YouTube. However, some repairs can be costly and require calling in a professional. Just like owning a car, homeownership has it’s associated upkeep expenses.

However, with that added responsibility comes independence. You can paint and change your home how you see fit without worrying about losing a security deposit.

Start considering these questions now and in due time you’ll have a better understanding of your current and future goals. This way, you’ll be able to choose the best possible time to buy a home.

Get Ready to Buy a House in a Seller’s Market

Purchasing a home in a seller’s market may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we’re here to offer expert guidance to ensure you can find the best house at the lowest price, regardless of the present real estate sector’s conditions.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you get ready to pursue a home in a seller’s market.

1. Assess the Housing Market Closely

A seller’s market likely features a shortage of high-quality houses. As such, you’ll want to analyze the local real estate sector closely so you can identify your dream home faster than ever before.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This information can help you understand the average price range for homes of all sizes in your area. You also should find out how long these homes were available before they sold to understand the current pace of the real estate market.

Furthermore, you should make a checklist of home must-haves and wants. Once you craft this checklist, you can assess the houses available in your city or town and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

In all likelihood, you’ll need to act fast to acquire your ideal residence in a seller’s market. If you have a mortgage in hand when you submit a home offer, you may boost your chances of receiving a “Yes” from a seller.

A home offer that is contingent on a buyer’s approval for a mortgage often is far from ideal. If a seller receives this type of offer, he or she may be reluctant to accept it, as there are no guarantees a buyer will be able to obtain the necessary financing to acquire a home.

Comparatively, a buyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage can enter a seller’s market with a budget in hand. And if he or she finds a great house, this buyer can submit an offer without having to worry about getting financing at a later time.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of lenders. These financial institutions can teach you about a wide range of mortgage options and help you find the right mortgage based on your finances.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A seller’s market can be tough to navigate, regardless of whether you’re a first-time or experienced homebuyer. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can guide you along the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals. He or she then will keep you up to date about houses that meet your criteria, set up home showings and help you submit offers on residences. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at any time.

Prepare to buy a house in a seller’s market – use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.

Reasons to Accelerate the Homebuying Journey

If you plan to pursue a house, you likely want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience. Although you may take extra steps to err on the side of caution as you explore myriad homes, there may be times when it helps to be an aggressive homebuyer.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to be aggressive and try to accelerate the homebuying journey, such as:

1. You’re facing a tight deadline.

If you have only a certain amount of time to buy a house, it may be a good idea to be aggressive. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying journey and acquire your ideal residence before time runs out.

For those who are facing a tight deadline, you may want to stay on top of new houses as soon as they become available. Fortunately, if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can do just that.

An expert real estate agent can keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. As a result, this housing market professional can help you secure your dream house faster than ever before.

2. You discover your dream home and don’t want to risk losing it to a rival homebuyer.

If you find a house that fulfills all of your homebuying criteria, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. In fact, if you hesitate, you risk losing your ideal residence to a rival homebuyer.

Of course, when submitting an offer on a house, it pays to be realistic. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can understand a house’s current value and submit a competitive proposal right away. As such, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant “Yes” from a seller, as well as improve your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.

3. You possess the homebuying confidence and expertise that you need to succeed.

An informed homebuyer should have no trouble assessing the housing market and finding a residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations. Thus, this homebuyer may be more likely than others to quickly discover a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

To build your homebuying confidence and expertise, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you everything that you need to know about purchasing a house. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.

Let’s not forget about the housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can help you differentiate between a buyer’s and seller’s market, submit a competitive offer on a home and much more. Therefore, with this housing market professional at your side, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.

Ready to start your search for your dream house? Become an informed homebuyer, and you can speed up the homebuying journey.

3 Tips for Finding an Inexpensive Home

Browsing the real estate market may seem like an exhausting process, particularly for those who are searching for inexpensive properties. Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline your search for a cost-effective residence.

Here are three tips that homebuyers can use to find inexpensive properties in any real estate market, at any time.

1. Check Out “Fixer-Uppers”

A fixer-upper, i.e. a property in need of substantial upgrades and maintenance, may prove to be a great value.

In many instances, fixer-uppers are priced to sell. These properties may require a lot of repairs, but homebuyers who are ready to work hard and perform a variety of home improvement projects on their own may be able to save money by purchasing a fixer-upper.

Check out the fixer-uppers in various cities and towns. By doing so, you can assess the current condition of a fixer-upper and find out how much maintenance it requires. And ultimately, you’ll be able to determine whether a fixer-upper matches your price range, along with whether you’re up to the task of completing myriad home improvement tasks.

2. Submit Offers on Many Residences

When it comes to buying an inexpensive home, it is important to remain patient. If at first you don’t succeed with an initial offer on a home, be sure to try again.

It may take some time to find a home that corresponds with your budget. But homebuyers who are committed to exploring the real estate market are sure to find lots of properties that they can enjoy for years to come. And even though the asking prices of some homes may appear to be outside of your price range, it never hurts to ask whether a home seller will consider a proposal that is less than his or her initial asking price.

Be prepared to submit many offers on residences as you browse the real estate market for an inexpensive home. If a home seller rejects your initial proposal, don’t be discouraged. Remember, there are many terrific homes that are available, and a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble discovering the right residence at a budget-friendly price.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are ready to assist you in any way possible. Thus, if you work with an experienced real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of inexpensive houses at your convenience.

Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about any properties that match your price range as they become available. Plus, your real estate agent can offer homebuying recommendations that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, ensuring that you can secure your dream residence at the right price.

Work with a real estate agent as you begin your search for an inexpensive home – you’ll be glad you did. Your real estate agent will go the extra mile to help you find a wonderful house that won’t require you to overspend. As a result, your real estate agent will make it simple for you to go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.

Short Sale Pitfalls to Avoid

You may think buying a short sale is a good deal and many times it can be a good option. Short sales can also be fraught with complications and often can easily fall apart. Here is a list of things to be aware of so your short sale doesn’t become a long shot.

• When a house is placed for sale as a short sale the owner doesn’t always have the authority to sell the house at the advertised price. The owner hopes the bank will accept that price as a short sale.

• The negotiating process is far different than a regular sale. You often will first negotiate with a seller but remember the bank has the final say-so.

• You are making an offer to purchase blind because many lenders will not even discuss a short sale with a seller until a purchase contract is in place. There is no guarantee the lender will even accept a short-sale offer.

• Short sales often are not short at all. They can be long, drawn-out affairs. Be prepared for it to take months.

• Even though the lender may have taken their time on the short sale approval, once approved the lender often require the sale to close within a short period of time.

Due to the way many short sales happen, a buyer may have to put out money for a home inspection, appraisal, credit report and application fees paid to their lender and the sale may not even happen. So while short sales can often be a good deal they can also be a long shot. Take your time, do your research and be sure to work with a real estate professional to help guide you through the potential pitfalls of a short sale.

Mortgages Made Easy for the Self-Employed

Getting a mortgage these days can be tough and it is even tougher for small-business owners. Potential self-employed borrowers usually have variability in their income streams. Today, banks are requiring more financial documentation from all buyers, and self-employed borrowers tend to face more scrutiny.

Small-business owners may have a smaller income because they are typically knowledgeable about tax deductions and credits. This often reduces the amount of taxable income they have. Reducing the amount of taxable income on your tax returns means to the lender there is less income to qualify for a loan.

There are ways self-employed borrowers can increase their chances of getting a home loan, however. Here are a few tips:

What is the lenders history?

Find out if the lender has a history of working with self-employed borrowers. Self-employed borrowers should focus more on finding a lender that will understand their situation rather than shop the loan rate. There are individual loan officers who will be able to think out of the box or come up with solutions. The lender you choose is key.

Consider portfolio lenders.

Portfolio lenders have more flexibility in originating loans because they don’t have to sell the loan to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Portfolio lenders hold their own loans. That makes a big difference in their ability to loan. Another option may to consider credit unions. Many credit unions also keep a good portion of loans on their books.

Boost your income.

Show you make as much money as possible on your tax return. You might need to amend your tax returns. Some lenders will look at a loan application again if they have sent in amended returns to the government. Sometimes by rethinking deductions and credits on income taxes, a borrower can increase his qualifying income. Of course, with this strategy, the borrower would also face a new tax bill.

What is a Jumbo Loan?

Are you looking to buy a bigger home? If you are looking to make the move a jumbo mortgage might be right for you.

A jumbo mortgage is a home loan with an amount that exceeds conforming loan limits set by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) or better known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Currently, the loan limit is $417,000 in most parts of the United States, but can increase to $625,500 in the higher cost areas. OFHEO sets the conforming loan limit size on an annual basis.

Jumbo loans have slightly higher interest rates because they carry more credit risk.

Asbestos in Your Home

If you live in or are buying an older home you may be concerned about asbestos. Asbestos was banned in 1978 because of the health risks associated with it.

Asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled.  The microscopic fibers can become lodged in the respiratory system and lead to asbestosis or scarring of the respiratory tissues.

Asbestos was commonly used as a binder and fire retardant in many building products. It can typically be found in acoustical ceiling tiles; thermal insulation of boilers and pipes; steel fireproofing, cement asbestos siding and roofing; tile and sheet floor coverings.

Inspectors are most concerned with what is known as friable asbestos (easily crumbled or pulverized to powder) and often recommend it be removed. It should always be removed and disposed of by a qualified contractor. Contact the Environmental Protection Agency for an updated list of qualified testing and or mitigation contractors.