Open houses can be a great way to get to know a home and the neighborhood it sits in. Sure, the seller will be trying to put their best foot forward on the big day. But, youíll still be able to get a chance to tour the home relatively uninterrupted.
But what should you look for in particular when attending an open house?
There are a number of things you can learn at an open house. Many prospective buyers spend the time looking at things like paint color and cosmetic touches that can easily be changed, and very little time considering important factors that should go into their home buying decision.
So, in todayís post, Iím going to cover some of the lesser known things you should be looking out for when you attend an open house. That way, youíll know which houses are worth considering further and which ones should be left behind.
If you find yourself constantly running out of storage space (and who doesnít?), youíll want to make sure the home has ample space to store your belongings. If it doesnít, see if you can find ways to repurpose areas for storage, such as spare bedrooms or garage space.
Itís perfectly normal for a sellerís agent to place one or two choice candles in the home during an open house.
However, if you notice some rooms have an overpowering smell of candles or air fresheners, thereís a good chance itís there to mask offensive and hard to remove smells. Pet and cigarette odors are among the worst culprits.
When attending an open house, take note of how well the doors open and close. If appropriate, ask the sellerís agent if you can try out the windows and cabinets as well.
Problems with these items can be signs of poor craftsmanship, cheap materials, or neglect.
If youíve found what you think is the perfect home, it can be easy to see the world through rose-colored lenses.
However, itís important to take them off when looking around the yard. Take note of the traffic level, and the amount of privacy the home receives. If you like the home, itís also a good idea to stop by the neighborhood during rush house to gauge how traffic would affect your commute.
Improper ventilation can lead to mold growth, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Make sure bathroom vents and fans work properly, and check windows for condensation.
In rooms with sinks, check around the base of the sink and counter for signs of water damage or mold.
While small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a home are completely normal, large ones can be dangerous.
They can allow water and pests to enter the home, causing all types of costly damages.
Keep those six tips in mind when you attend the open house, and be sure to bring a list of any other questions you might have for the sellerís agent.
Buying a home as a single individual comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. Some are to be expected, like financing with a single income. While others not so much, like a more competitive market.
You know that financing will be based on your sole income. However, the vast majority of homeowners are couples who have dual incomes. Your eligibility is going to be very different than that of a couple and for some home buyers when they receive a lower number this comes as a shock. Expect to see numbers that are on the lower side of those who apply as couples.
Since you are on a sole income you may want to look into various loan types such as those that offer low-interest rates and lower down payments. Two to look at are first-time buyers programs and FHA loans.
When comparing options watch the lenders fee in comparison to the interest rate. Where you may have low-interest rate it might come with a higher lender fee. Do the math on these ratios to get a true value of each.
Before applying for mortgage approval, clean up your budget and handle any existing debts, especially expensive ones. Pay off card balances, refinance student loans, and swap out expensive monthly car payments for one that is more reasonable.
Draw up a budget and get really clear on just how much house you can afford month to month. Include the cost of house ownership and maintenance in your budget in addition to the cost of future monthly mortgage payments.
As a sole earner having savings is incredibly important as you donít have a second income to rely on. In addition to setting aside your down payment (as close to the recommended 20% as you can), build up a nest egg of three to six months worth income should anything misfortune arise.
Start the buying process well prepared with the right mindset. Smaller houses make up a lower percentage of the housing market and cheaper homes are competitive when it comes to the buying process. Be ready for a search that might go a little longer and a buying process that needs you to move a little faster than traditional ones.
Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to home viewings to have a sounding board for your decision process. Itís easier to get swept away emotionally when you donít have a partner to hash out the gritty details with. Find someone who can come to each viewing with you so that you can compare the different homes proís and conís together.
Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesnít have to be a difficult or lonely one. Ask for feedback from your realtor, bring a trusted friend and know what to expect from the buying process as a sole income earner.
If you intend to purchase a house soon, it helps to prepare for the home buying journey. In fact, if you identify potential issues before you start your quest to find your dream home, you could avoid them during your property search.
Now, let's take a look at three common issues that plague homebuyers, along with tips to address these problems.
1. Lack of Home Financing
In some instances, a homebuyer will check out residences and find one that matches their expectations. Next, this buyer will submit an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets accepted. At this point, however, the buyer may discover that they lack the necessary financing to acquire this home.
Entering the housing market with financing in hand is ideal. If a buyer gets pre-approved for a mortgage, they will know precisely how much money is available for a home purchase. As a result, this buyer can map out their home search accordingly.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it helps to meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach a homebuyer about his or her mortgage options. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
2. Tight Home-buying Timeline
If you have only a limited amount of time to move from your current address, you may rush to purchase a house. In this scenario, you risk making a rash home purchase Ė something that may prove to be problematic both now and in the future.
For buyers who face a tight home-buying timeline, there is no need to stress. If you make a list of home-buying tasks you need to accomplish, you can take a step-by-step approach to the property buying journey.
3. Unrealistic Home-buying Expectations
You may expect to buy your dream residence without delay. Yet the real estate market offers no guarantees. And in certain instances, it may take many weeks or months before a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase.
To establish realistic home-buying expectations, it usually is a good idea to work with a property buying expert. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and they can provide home-buying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A real estate agent is committed to a homebuyer's success. As such, he or she will work with a homebuyer and help them prepare for the housing market. A real estate agent will also set up home showings and provide feedback about available residences in a buyer's preferred cities and towns. And if a buyer finds a house that they want to purchase, a real estate agent will help this individual put together a competitive home-buying proposal, too.
When it comes to purchasing a home, you should plan for the best - and worst-case scenarios. If you consider the aforementioned home-buying issues before you begin your house search, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful property buying experience.
If your initial offer to purchase a home is countered, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are lots of reasons why you should negotiate with a house seller, and these include:
1. You can speed up the homebuying journey.
The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complicated. If you find a house you want to buy, however, there is no need to wait to submit an offer to purchase this home. And if a seller wants to negotiate with you, it may be worthwhile to work with this individual so you can acquire your ideal house.
A homebuying negotiation enables you to try to reach a house purchase agreement with a seller. Plus, if you and a seller cannot come to terms, you can always reenter the housing market and continue to search for another home that matches your expectations.
2. You can find common ground with a home seller.
When it comes to buying a home, it is important to avoid submitting a "lowball" offer to purchase. If a buyer submits a lowball property buying proposal, he or she risks alienating a seller. Worst of all, a seller may be more likely than ever before to reject the buyer's proposal and move forward with other offers to purchase.
Thanks to a homebuying negotiation, you can come to terms on a home purchase agreement that works well for both you and a seller. As a result, both you and a seller will be satisfied with the final terms of a home purchase agreement.
3. You can pay the lowest price for your dream home.
If you feel a seller's initial asking price is too high, negotiating with this individual offers an excellent opportunity to get the best price for your ideal house. And if you open up negotiations with a seller, you could acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.
Of course, it is crucial to consider the seller's perspective during a homebuying negotiation. If you maintain constant communication with a seller, both you and this individual can work together to finalize a home purchase contract.
Negotiating with a home seller may be stressful, regardless of whether you are buying a house for the first time or have purchased residences in the past. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert support as you negotiate a home purchase.
A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a house seller on your behalf. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home purchase negotiation. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you purchase your dream house at the lowest price.
For those who want to achieve the optimal results during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to negotiate with a seller. If you are willing to negotiate with a seller, you could acquire your dream home faster than ever before.
When buying a house, especially your first home, it's all too easy to make impulsive decisions and fail to "see the forest for the trees."
Although it's impossible to ignore your emotional reactions to a house for sale, it's vital to look at the big picture and make sure there are no red flags being ignored or glossed over.
For example, if the foundation of the house looks unstable or the surrounding neighborhood is showing signs of deterioration, it's ultimately not going to matter how much you love the layout of the kitchen or the convenience of a first floor laundry room. Major problems can overshadow the desirable features of a home and have long-term implications on your finances (and sanity).
Even though the future marketability of a house may be the last thing on your mind when you're searching for your next home, it's a factor worth giving some serious thought to. When that aspect of home ownership is overlooked, it could result in headaches and possible financial loss down the road. While real estate generally has a tendency to appreciate in value over time, there are exceptions.
The good news is that many potential problems can be prevented by combining common sense with the advice of qualified professionals, such as an experienced, certified property inspector. If you're wondering what's covered in a typical home inspection, the American Society of Home Inspectors offers this overview: "The standard home inspectorís report will cover the condition of the homeís heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components."
So while inspectors can't look behind every wall or accurately predict the remaining lifespan of an existing HVAC system, they can provide you with a lot of valuable tips, recommendations, and insights into the condition of a house for sale. Working with a top-notch real estate (buyer's) agent will also help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying a home.
While nobody wants to move into a "money pit," the likelihood of finding a home that's absolutely perfect and doesn't need any repairs, updates, or improvements is extremely low. Home buyers who are too focused on perfection may eventually realize that their standards are unattainable. A successful search for a new home hinges on the ability to distinguish between a minor cosmetic problem, such as an unappealing paint color, and a major problem, like a basement that floods regularly or a roof that's been compromised by storms, falling branches, or long-term neglect.
Although home buyers have differing expectations when it comes to repairs, remodeling, decorating, and renovations, one thing's for sure: Everyone wants to add their own personal touches to a new home and make it feel and look like their own!