Six Rules For Searching Homes For Sale

Although homeownership is down a bit in the wake of the recession, most folks still consider it a core component of the American Dream. With that in mind, here are six tips that will help you avoid common home-buying errors.

1. Make An Honest Budget

One reason the number of foreclosures spiked during the housing crisis is that millions of buyers purchased homes for sale they could not afford to pay for over the long haul. To avoid getting in over your head, shop for abodes based on your current budget rather than the maximum amount you’re allowed to borrow from the bank.

2. Work With Professionals

As tempting as it may be to cut corners to save money, it can come back to bite you in the end. House inspectors, real estate agents, and property lawyers can be of invaluable service during each stage of the buying process. Just make sure they’re not also representing the seller, or you could have a conflict of interest.

3. Never Be Afraid To Negotiate

Even if they say otherwise, most sellers are willing to go lower than their asking price on homes for sale. Placing bids through your agent is perfectly acceptable, but you should not be swayed by their advice. Always remember that your realtor receives a commission from the sale, which means he/she is incentivized to get a deal done as soon as possible. Do not feel pressured or rushed to send him/her back to the negotiating table if you believe you can get a better price.

4. Expect A Long Search

Another common error first-time homebuyers make is planning their schedule based on an anticipated house purchase. They might, for example, tell their landlord they’ll be moving out in three or four months. Then, when they haven’t finished their property hunt in that time frame, they find themselves without a place to stay. Avoid this all-too-common scenario by not putting any time restrictions on your search process.

5. Find The Right Realtor

About 90 percent of shoppers use a real estate agent to help them find the property of their dreams. Because the process can be a protracted one, it’s extremely important to find an agent you are comfortable with. To do so, you should speak with several different realtors before you give one your business. Always remember that they’ll be working for you, so do not feel awkward about asking them to interview.

6. Read Before You Sign

Unless you have a legal background, odds are you won’t completely understand your real estate contract. That does not, of course, mean that you shouldn’t read it. You should read every word and ask questions about any term, condition, or legal phrase you do not understand. While realtors should be able to translate and explain the finer points of the contract to you, it may be a good idea to have a real estate lawyer look it over before you sign. These legal professionals are experts in contract law who can tell you if everything is above board.

Follow these simple shopping tips to get a good deal on homes for sale in your area.

Guide to Finding the Right Home For Sale

Searching homes for sale can be exhausting, time consuming and confusing. But you can save time and reduce the headache of house hunting by determining what features you want before you search homes. Every one has a different opinion on the best home value, but using these guidelines can help you decided if a property is ideal for you.

Location: You know the region where you’d like to live, but have you researched the local communities? When searching for a home, make sure the local area matches your needs and wants. A good place to start is checking out the quality of schools as well as proximity, local markets, and other amenities you find important. A prime location and neighborhood can also help you receive maximum resale value or home equity.

Neighbors: It’s a good idea to make note of the proximity to others when searching homes for sale. How far away is the next house and do they have direct visibility into your home? If you’d like to retain your privacy, neighboring homes should be an ample distance apart or the property should have elements to maintain seclusion such as hedge walls.

Property size: Most house hunters will focus on the square footage of a house, but it’s important to check out the lot size as well when looking at homes for sale. Is the area around the home big enough for any out door activities or storage you may be interested in? You should also consider the maintenance required for lot up-keep such as mowing grass, weeding gardens or trimming vegetation.

House size: Take note of nearby homes when searching real estate for sale; they should be close in size and amenities. If a neighbor’s home is significantly smaller it could adversely affect the resale value of your home.

Kitchens: The kitchen is usually the most popular room in the house. When searching real estate for sale, take note of the kitchen size as well as the appliances as a larger kitchen with modern appliances are ideal for those who enjoy cooking and entertaining. Kitchens with islands provide extra counter space, additional storage and outlets. Space to eat-in the kitchen or a connection to the dining room offers convenience. Also check for easy access to the back yard if you like to entertain outdoors.

Bedrooms and bathrooms: House hunters are usually the most interested in three or four bedroom homes for sale. Also be sure to look for houses with two or more full bathrooms. The size of each bedroom should be large enough for a queen bed and one dresser with ample walking space.

Closets: Be sure to take note of the closet space. Many homes for sale offer walk-in closets in the master bedroom. You’ll want spacious closets in the rest of the house and ample storage for linens, towels and seasonal clothing.

Garages: Garage are an important factor to some house hunters, particularly for homes in the North. Homes that have an attached garage provide warm access during the cold season and enable you to save time and avoid the hassle of scraping snow or ice off your vehicle. Look for garage with attributes that fit your lifestyle, such as work bench, and also provide room for storage.

Pools: Pools are generally not considered a wise real estate investment. They require year-round maintenance and can be a danger to small children or animals. If you’re not prepared or do not have the resources to manage a pool, they can quickly become more hassle than the pleasure they offer.

Energy Costs: Make sure you can figure a energy cost estimate to run the house. Larger homes can be more expensive to heat and cool if the HVAC system is older or inefficient. Also look for homes which maximize solar orientation and have sufficient insulation to help keep your energy bill down.

Are You a Home-Based Worker? 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Looking at Homes for Sale

Many people are beginning to utilize telecommuting or freelancing in their professional lives. If you are house hunting, you need to take into consideration what you will need to do your work efficiently. Here are some things to look for when you are checking out homes for sale:

Make Sure there is Adequate Office Space

If you are going to be working from your house, one of the main priorities when looking at homes for sale is whether or not there is room for an office. When freelancing or telecommuting, it is easy to become distracted by other things in the house, such as children and pets. You need to look at houses that have separate room that you can claim as your workspace and nothing else. It can be an extra bedroom, a room over the garage, or even in the basement. Try to find a space that allows you to close the door when you are working so you can work efficiently.

Consider a Location With Nearby Coffee Shops

Anyone who freelances can testify that their lifestyle can sometimes become monotonous and even lonely. Freelance workers often spend much of their workday completely alone, so it is nice to have a place to go to where you can unwind a bit with a cup of coffee and be around other people. Even if you aren’t interacting with others, it can be a welcome change of pace for any freelance worker. As an added bonus, many coffee shops have free Internet access, so you can have the option of getting some work done in a different environment.

Look for a Location With Green Space Near the Home

Another thing that is important when looking at homes for sale is whether or not there is some green space nearby. Many people who telecommute often benefit from spending some time at nearby parks or walking paths. This allows you to get some fresh air, exercise, and can improve your focus. You can also take your children or pets along to help them release some energy, which can make them less likely to interrupt you when you get back to your office.

Look for a Nice Fenced Yard

Another important factor is choosing a place that has a nice fenced backyard. One of the perks of freelancing is that you can choose where you want to work. Many freelancers choose to take their work to the backyard while their children or pets play. While this is an ideal situation, it can be easy to become distracted once you are concentrating on your work. Having a fence can help you focus more intently on your work instead of constantly worrying that someone is getting too far away. However, you absolutely must make sure that the fence is strong enough to keep everyone safe.

When you are looking at homes for sale, be sure to keep your professional life in mind. Working from your house has so many benefits. Choosing a house with these tips in mind can help put you more at ease and make your life much simpler.