Recent Entries

Helpful Hints For First-Time Homebuyers...

Buying your first house can be intimidating, but following a few helpful pieces of advice can help to make the process a little bit easier and less stressful. Use this guide as you begin your first house-hunting adventure. Bring An Objective Friend Your home purchase is a big step, and you may need some help to determine which home is right for you. Bringing a friend or family member who can be objective will help you to identify any things about each home that might be an issue for you and your family. Having a friend with you can also help you to feel less intimidated by the home-buying process. Be sure to let your real estate agent know that you’ll have a friend coming with you so he or she can be prepared to help you and your friend. Avoid Large Purchases You’ll want to be careful with your money in the months leading up to your home purchase, so avoid making any large purchases or taking out any loans before you begin the home-buying process. You may want to meet with a financial consultant to discuss your finances, including how much you can afford to spend on a home and which other steps you should take to prepare to buy a home. Spend Time In The Neighborhood Learning more about the neighborhood each home is located in will help you to determine where to buy. Take time to tour the neighborhood, and get familiar with the locations for nearby parks, schools, and other local amenities. Be sure you fall in love with the neighborhood, not just the house. This will help you to determine if you will be happy living in the area. Talk To Your Insurance...

Advance Your Career In The Luxury Home Market...

Most Realtors are familiar with the professional designations typically offered by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Most specializations are straightforward–one specialization, one certification. Not so with the luxury-home certification, because NAR doesn’t offer it directly. Instead, you’ll earn your credentials through other industry organizations, Accredited Luxury Home Specialist The Accredited Luxury Home Specialist designation comes from the Luxury Home Council, which was founded in 2004 to support real estate professionals working with wealthy clients. The council created the designation and the designation course a year later, and it updates the course annually. To qualify for the designation, you’ll need to pass the course and then submit an Achievement Verification Statement verifying two closed transactions within two years of completing the course. The transactions must meet the council’s sales price criteria. In addition, designees must be members of the Luxury Home Council and the National Association of Realtors. You’ll pay separate fees for each membership, but the course tuition covers your first year’s fee for the council. Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist The Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist designation comes from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. This independent organization also has a Million Dollar Guild for agents with proven expertise in homes selling for $1 million or more. Designees must complete a training course, which they can take online or in person. Additional criteria include an Institute for Luxury Home Marketing membership, which has a fee, and the successful completion of three residential transactions with minimum sales prices of at least $500,000 that also fall within the top 10 percent of the agent’s local market, within two years of completing the educational requirements. Membership in NAR isn’t required. Complementary Certifications from NAR NAR has three certifications that complement...

4 Things To Consider When Buying A Condo...

If you’re getting older and want to have fewer responsibilities, you may want to strongly consider purchasing a condo to call home. Many individuals enjoy this way of living because of the numerous benefits. The key to making the right choice may depend on a number of factors you should think of beforehand. By knowing what some of these are, you can be ready to make an offer on a condo sooner rather than later. The size Of course, one of the critical things to know and do the right amount of research on is the size of the condo. Be sure to consider if you need two or three bedrooms and how many bathrooms may be necessary. You will want to have a good idea of the amount of square footage you will need to help make life comfortable for you. The budget It’s ideal to have a budget created that will enable you to buy the ideal condo without being stressed out about money all the time later. When you establish the amount of money you can pay each month and meet your other bills, you’re then ready to look at condos for sale. You should consider if you’ll be successful in borrowing the cash you’ll need to make the sale final. Of course, this will largely depend on your credit rating and how high it may be. The location Having a place to live that is close to other things and allows you to get to where you need to go with ease can make life less complicated. You’ll want to know what medical facilities, shopping centers, and schools are within proximity of your condo. Being able to reach your job quickly is sure to be...

Before You Start Your Search For A New Home, Do These Things...

It can be more challenging than expected to go on a search for a brand new place to live, particularly if you are planning to purchase a piece of real estate. There are many things to keep in mind as you look at one house or another, but to cut down on stress it’s a smart idea to do as much preparation as you can beforehand. When you’re able to do the tasks below, your search can be much more enjoyable. Retain the Right Professionals Before embarking on tours of different houses, assemble a team of professionals to help you along the way. While you might already plan to speak with a local sales agent about different real estate in the area, there are others who can provide necessary assistance. For example, when you finally do find a house that you like, it’s wise to have a home inspector check it out to be sure that there are no major problems that need to be fixed. You may wish to ask a real estate appraiser to do a report that confirms the value of a house. To finalize your purchase, you are likely to need a real estate attorney. While you may not need some services until later in the process, having consultations with a few professionals early on can prevent delays and wasting time when you finally find a house you’re interested in. Prioritize Your Needs and Wants Working on a home search with only a vague idea of what you want can confound your realtor and cause you frustration if you aren’t seeing houses that you deem suitable. That’s why it’s critical to think it through and come up with a clear, concise list of what you...

Should You Buy a House with a Friend?...

If you’re looking for a new luxury home but are on a tight budget, you may be considering co-buying a home with a friend. While it will surely be easier to afford a large mortgage payment with two of you contributing, buying a house with a friend does not always work out well. Here’s a look at the pros and cons you should consider before making such a purchase.  Pro: You’ll have an easier time qualifying for a loan. Not only will you have an easier time scraping up the money for a mortgage payment each month, but you’ll have an easier time getting approved for the mortgage, too. The bank will be more confident in your ability to pay with two incomes, so you’ll have your choice of lenders and can go with the one who offers you the best deal. You may not be able to be so picky if you were to apply for a mortgage with just your income. Pro: You’ll get to live with someone you care about. If you were to buy a house on your own and rent to a random roommate, you might not like the person. And living alone is not always fun, either. When you share the home purchase with a friend, you know you’ll get along with your living partner, and both of you get to benefit equally from building equity in a home, rather than one of you having to fork over money you’ll never see again as a rent payment. Con: If one of you needs to move, the decision to sell can be a hard one. You might both think your jobs are secure and that you’d never leave the area. But surprises and tragedies...

Buying Your First Rental Property? 3 Important Features to Look for in a Neighborhood...

When you’re interested in buying a home, but you intend on renting it out to tenants, it’s important that you look into what kinds of things will stand out to potential renters. Not only will this likely ensure that your home is more valuable if you ever intend on selling it, but it can also make a big difference in how happy your tenants are and how much money are you able to rent the unit for. Instead of making any quick decisions about buying a rental property, you should rely on the expertise of a realtor and consider the following features that should be present in the neighborhood you’re interested in. Walking and Biking Score More and more people are spending more time walking and biking outdoors. With this in mind, you should look into finding homes that are located in neighborhoods that are walker and biker friendly. What this means is that the neighborhood should have well-defined sidewalks and bicycle lanes that are maintained. With these two features, you will be much more likely to rent a unit in the neighborhood out and attract more people who like to spend time outdoors. Nearby Schools and Parks Another thing to keep an eye out for when you’re comparing different neighborhoods to buy in is the school district and any neighborhood parks. Many people overlook what kinds of features are in the neighborhood outside of grocery stores and restaurants. By instead focusing on things that your potential tenants will be using a regular basis, such as the school or nearby parks, you can feel much more confident about renting out to responsible tenants without a long vacancy in between tenants. Minimal Crime and Noise One of the things that your...

Buying A Home During The Holidays? 3 Ways To Reduce Stress During Your Search...

Purchasing a home when the weather is nice is often preferable due to how comfortable you can be in your search, but it may not be an option because of your career or the need to move in a hurry. Whatever your reasons may be for moving during the holiday season, it’s a good idea for you to look into what you can do to make the home buying experience comfortable for you. With the tips below, you can find a home that suits your needs and doesn’t leave you disappointed. Rely on an Experienced Realtor in the Area One of the best ways to make sure that you find a home that fits what you’re looking for is sticking with realtors that are experienced and know the area well. By having a realtor that’s especially familiar with the neighborhoods you like the best, you can have a much broader range of homes to look at. Their experience can also help cut down on wasted time checking out homes that don’t match what you’re looking for. Keep a Broad List of Features You Want Another thing that you’ll need to prioritize when moving is getting all the features that are important to you. Your list of features can range anywhere from an updated kitchen to three bedrooms, with each feature ranging in the spectrum of importance. What this means is that you’ll need to take care to look through a list of what you want in a home with your partner or family. By sharing this list with a realtor, you can make your search for the perfect home much easier. With an easier way to find a home that suits your needs, you’ll be able to cut down...

Want To Become A Homeowner? 3 Projects You Can Handle At A Later Time...

Buying a home is tough, not just because you have to go through the long process of getting a home loan, but because you also need to make a decision on which home to buy. To get to this point in the process, you will need to take the wants and needs of each family member as well as your family as a whole into consideration, because you do not want to end up in a home that does not provide the right features. It is easy to push aside some of the essentials in favor of optional features such as an outdoor kitchen. So, you should make it a goal to focus on your needs and save some projects for after you buy a home. Outdoor Kitchen Although you might want to squeeze an outdoor kitchen into your budget for purchasing a home, not many properties are going to have this feature. It is better to get the value elsewhere in the house, and then you can make plans for a remodel at a later time. Once you put a grill outside, you may find that it is more than enough to satisfy your desires to cook outside, or it may not be something that you actually want to do at all. Such a project runs $1,000 on the low side and costs an average of about $7,400, so there is noticeable savings to be had by actively avoiding this feature during your house hunt. Closet If you are looking at a home and notice that it is somewhat lacking on storage space inside, you should not feel the need to cross it off of your list and start looking elsewhere. When it comes to remodeling projects that...
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