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3 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers...

Buying your first home can be incredibly exciting, but it can also be stressful, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Your first home purchase is a very big financial investment, so it is a good idea to be as prepared as possible. If you’re planning to buy your first house in the near future, use the following tips to help ensure that the process goes smoothly: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage A lot of first-time buyers get confused by the terms pre-qualified and pre-approved in regards to mortgages. Pre-qualified means that a lender believes that you are a good candidate for a loan based on the financial information that you provided, but it does not guarantee you a loan. On the other hand, getting pre-approved for a mortgage requires submitting a lot of documents and having your application go through underwriting; if you are approved you will know exactly how much you can borrow and what interest rate you will pay on your loan. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential; doing so will help you set a budget you are comfortable with. Have a List of Needs vs. Wants Most first time buyers do not have the budget to purchase their dream home that has every amenity and feature that they have ever wanted; in many cases concessions will need to be made. It can be very helpful to sit down and make a list of things that you absolutely need in a home, and then list things that you would like to have. For example, based on your family size you may need a certain number of bedrooms, and you may want a finished basement but it won’t be a deal breaker if you find...

Getting A Game Plan In Place For Viewing Open Houses...

If you are on the market for a new home, it can seem overwhelming to view so many properties before you find your dream home. The thing is, by viewing a variety of open houses, you will narrow down your wish list and begin to know what you are really looking for in a property. Here are four ways to make sure you use your time wisely when visiting multiple open houses over the the weekend. 1. Map Out Your Day Ahead of Time Depending on how big your search area is, you might want to focus on one town or neighborhood’s open houses on offer. If this is in a neighborhood that you don’t know well, bring along maps or orient yourself ahead of time to save time once you are on the road. The more time you can spend at open houses instead of on the road, the more productive your afternoon will be. 2. Make Sure You are Focused on the Task at Hand If open houses in your area are primarily on weekend afternoons, it is important to focus this time exclusively on house hunting. It is a good idea to eat before you go and to try not to get distracted with other errands while you are out and about. Try to designate the time you can to seeing homes so you can cast a wide net on the options out there. 3. Don’t Waste Time on Out-of-Scope Properties Location, price, and features can all be vetted ahead of time online so that your search is focused on properties that are actually viable. It might be tempting to check out an open house in a nicer neighborhood that is too far away, or a...

Make A Good Real Estate Site...

If you are a real estate agent who feels your website can use a redesign, there are a few things you may want to include on the revamped one that will help you to see the best results possible. By learning a bit about webpage navigation and user behavior, you can put together a site that gives home buyers the information they need in a format they find user friendly. Read the information below so you can present potential clients with a place they can go to online to look for the right home for their family. Have detailed search options Rather than looking through a lot of homes that don’t meet their needs, a person would much rather choose the search options that will yield homes meeting their criteria. A person will generally only spend so much time on the computer, so it’s important that they have a chance of finding what they want within a few minutes of time. Therefore, your page should allow them to enter the type of home they are looking for, such as a condo, a manufactured home, a multi-family property or a single family house. It should also allow them to search according to the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms and the price. This way, they won’t waste their time on homes they will have no interest in. Have high quality pictures The pictures you provide your online users with can make or break whether they stick to your site, or move on to the next. They want to have access to a lot of pictures so they get a real sense of what the home is like. They also want to be able to click on those pictures and...

Three Things To Avoid When Picking A Real Estate Agent...

Many homeowners look for a real estate agent to efficiently sell their home. While there are many ways to judge a potential real estate agent, the following trains of thought could actually be mistakes. Here are some things to avoid when choosing a real estate agent.   Choosing an Agent Based on Commission  One mistake that sellers make is to choose their agent simply based on the amount of commission that the agent wants. However, by doing this, you’re missing out on some other factors that could cost you money. For instance, if you choose an agent who has a quick turnaround time for properties, you can save on mortgage and taxes associated with sitting on the property for longer. You’ll also be discounting the additional work that some agents do, such as staging the property and marketing with professional photos. Consider the agent’s average selling time, as well as any marketing or staging perks, along with the commission percentage.  Choosing an Agent Based on Listing Price If you have a listing price in mind and you find a few real estate agents who disagree with you, it can be tempting to go with the one agent who is willing to agree with your listing price. However, this may not be in your best interest; it may indicate that the agent doesn’t have enough experience to make a good call about the price range. Make sure to pick an agent who will tell you the hard truth when needed in order to sell your property efficiently.  Choosing an Agent Without Getting References Finally, you may be limiting your search by choosing an agent without vetting their references first. Some agents may have a great track record based on their...

Avoid These Common Mineral Owner Selling Mistakes...

If you own the rights to a source of minerals, you need to make sure that you avoid the three common mineral selling mistakes discussed below when you decided to sell your minerals. #1 Don’t Accept Unsolicited Offers You should not accept an unsolicited offer to purchase your mineral rights. Companies and organizations may mail you offers to purchase your mineral rights. Oftentimes, these types of offers greatly undervalue your mineral rights and deny you fair market value for your mineral rights. Look into the value of your mineral rights and know the real-market value of them before you sell them. Generally, these types of businesses that mail out mineral right purchasing offers are trying to get a great deal for themselves and undercut you. If you are not interested in selling your mineral rights or don’t know the fair market value of your mineral rights, just keep those offers on file so you can contact them when you actually want to sell your mineral rights and see if they are willing to make a fair offer instead. #2 Advertise Your Mineral Rights In order to get a competitive offer, make sure that you advertise that you are selling your mineral rights. By advertising your mineral rights, and making multiple companies and individuals who may have an interest in your mineral rights aware that you are interested in selling them, you will create competition to purchase your rights. This will help drive up the price of your mineral rights and will help you to get the compensation level that you deserve. You need to create a market for your mineral rights. #3 Don’t Accept The First Offer You Receive Don’t accept the first offer you receive for your mineral...

Landlords: 3 Rental Upgrades That Will Make Your Units More Durable...

If you are a landlord who focuses on renting out residential properties, you might worry about your tenants causing serious damage to your units. Even though you might be careful about screening tenants and requiring a deposit to cover damages, there is always the risk that your rentals could become seriously damaged during a tenant’s time staying there. This can obviously eat into your profits and can make it difficult for you to rent out your property again without spending significant money on repairs.    Luckily, there are a few rental upgrades that you can make to make your units more durable. By taking these steps now, you can help prevent your tenants from destroying your units later. Even though you might have to spend money on these upgrades right now, they are sure to save you plenty of money on repairs later.  1. Installing Resilient Flooring For the most part, carpet has no place in a rental property. It’s just too easy to stain or otherwise damage. Instead, you are going to want to replace your existing flooring with something that is very durable and easy to clean. For example, ceramic tile looks great and lasts for years, and it is easy to clean if there are stains. Thick sheet vinyl is another good option, and it can be more affordable and easier to install. 2. Protecting Your Walls All sorts of things can damage your walls, such as doors being slammed open or shower curtains being hung the wrong way. One of the best ways to combat this is by installing plastic caps on your walls. These caps should be installed on the parts of the walls where door handles will come in contact with them, for...

From Renting To Buying: What To Do Before Making The Transition...

If you are finally in a position in which you are ready to purchase your own home, you are probably pretty excited about saying goodbye to renting. However, you shouldn’t jump in with both feet just yet. There are a few things that you should do if you are making this transition, so follow these tips to help make the move to home ownership a successful and not-so-stressful one. Prepare Yourself for the Cost of Home Ownership First of all, you need to ensure that you are truly prepared for home ownership. As a renter, you might not realize just how much it costs to own a home. Instead of being able to call your landlord each time that you deal with a problem in your new home, you will be responsible for taking care of it yourself. This means that you will need to set aside a bit of cash to keep on hand in case of an emergency, such as if your water heater goes out or you need to buy a new refrigerator. This money will be saved in addition to your down payment. You may also have to worry about other things that you’ve never had to worry about before, such as buying more furnishings for a larger home or investing in a lawn mower so that you can take care of your lawn. Make sure that you think about all of these things before you sign the dotted line for a new home. Talk to Your Landlord It is important to talk to your landlord about your plans. You don’t want to break your lease or leave your landlord out in the cold and looking for someone to rent your unit after you move...

2 Big Things First-Time Home Buyers Should Know To Avoid Buying A House They Cannot Afford...

Buying your very first house can be one of the most exciting purchases you may make in your lifetime, until you realize shortly afterwards that you really cannot afford the house you purchased. If you are cautious and diligent about choosing a house you can afford, you could avoid running into this issue. Here are three things to understand about this. You Will Automatically Inherit 2 Big Expenses If you are a first-time homebuyer, you probably have no idea what types of expenses you will have with your new house. Because of this, you might assume the only difference between renting the apartment you are in and the new house is the difference between your rent payment and the mortgage payment. While this is one difference, there are a lot of other expenses that come with houses. The main two are insurance and property taxes. The average annual cost of home insurance is $952, which amounts to roughly $79 per month. Depending on the house you buy, you might end up with insurance that is even more than this though. The average amount people pay annual for property taxes is $2,089, which is around $174 per month. There are counties around that have much higher averages than this though, so you should make sure you find out exactly how much your property taxes and insurance will be before you buy a house. If you forget to calculate these expenses into your budget, you may end up running short, because these two expenses could easily cost over $250 each month. Your Utilities May Go Up If you had been renting a house or apartment up until this point, there is a chance that some of your utilities may have been...
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