If you have never been through the home buying process before, the chances are you will expect it to be a breeze. Your only reference to the experience is likely to be via TV shows like Property Brothers or House Hunters, where every sale comes complete with granite worktops and deluxe, stainless steel kitchen appliances.
However, the reality of buying real estate is somewhat different on Planet Earth than it is on Planet TV. And in fact, it can be one of the most stressful experiences you can imagine. Here are a few things you need to watch out for:
Homeownership is expensive
When you are used to renting an apartment, it’s easy to underestimate exactly how much more it costs to own your own home. If your boiler, aircon or any structural damage occurs in your rented place, the landlord will fix it at their expense. But when you own the keys to your house? It’s all on you.
To make sure you don’t buy a home with a ton of damage or problems waiting for you a year or two down the line, make sure you look into getting a real estate inspection service to give the building a going over with a fine tooth comb. Your house inspectors will find any damages or potential problems and ensure you don’t overpay.
Most mortgages will require an inspection before you are approved for the loan. They are looking out for themselves, but you can benefit from this too. A typical inspection will range from $100-$500.
The seller’s agent is not on your team.
The seller has hired a real estate agent for the sole purpose of selling their home for the maximum amount of money. So, no matter how charming, friendly, or professional the realtor appears, bear in mind that they most certainly aren’t on your side of the bargain.
Get your own agent – a buyer’s realtor will help you push for the best possible deal, and help you identify any cut corners that could mean you overpay.
Not every agent will give you their time.
Unfortunately, you can’t put your complete trust in the buyer’s agent, either. Put yourselves in their shoes, and ask yourself which is more worthwhile: The small commision they might get from a first-time buyer like yourself, or the huge payday they will get from the people up the road selling a mansion house?
The chances are they will always put their focus on the big commissions and could try to rush your sale through so they can move onto the next project.
A home is not an investment.
It’s easy to think that your first home will also be the first step onto the ladder and that later on down the line you will sell it for a considerable profit. But treating your home like this won’t always pay off.
Sure, it’s true that property prices have risen historically, but there have always been periods when the reverse has happened – in 2008/09 for example. So, don’t see your family home as a cash cow – you could end up disappointed in the long-term. Instead, see it for what it is – a home you can all live in together, create a life in your community, and use it until it has reached its purpose.
Good luck with your first home – and enjoy it!
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The start of the year is the time when the majority of people think about the kinds of changes that they want to start making in their lives. Of course, the resolutions of losing weight, reading more books, and saving money might be the most common, but are the best place to put your ambitions? Well, the truth is that you might want to start somewhere else when you’re making changes in your life. One of the very best places to start your journey towards changing your life is your home. After all, if you’re living in an environment that feels fresh and exciting, then you’re going to be that much more likely to make the other changes in your life. With that in mind, here are some changes in your life that you should start thinking about this year.
Most of us consider real estate agents and realtors to be experienced professionals, and put our future and investments in their hands. However, to secure business and get paid a commission, your realtor might work hard to influence your decisions without you noticing it. From lying about themselves to get you to like and trust them to other offers on the real estate, you will need to be on the lookout to make sure you are making an informed decision without being influenced by your agent. Below you will find some of the most common tricks estate agents use to get you to ask for the keys.
1. Not Telling the Real Reason Previous Occupants Left
This trick can be dangerous, and lead to years of misery. If there is a problem neighbor, or an industrial plant in the region, and the previous people left because of this, you need to know about it. If there was ever asbestos in the house, or there is a new development coming up in the street, by telling you, your agent will reduce their chances of selling you the house. Make sure you do your own research and don’t trust everything the agent says. If it doesn’t sound right, go out there and investigate.
2. Not Allowing You to Meet the Owners
When you try to lease a house long term or even relocate to a new place, you could benefit from meeting the owners and asking questions. If your repeated requests are being declined by the agent, and they come up with a new excuse every time, you will need to start thinking. What if the owner is in prison, and your new address is known to several criminals in the region? Or even worse, what if they don’t feel comfortable answering some important questions? Can your agent show you the ownership documents and prove the property history? Check out if the delaware statutory trust rule applies, and start asking questions.
3. Organizing the Survey Themselves
It is always best to get an independent survey of the house or apartment done, instead of allowing your realtor to take care of everything. While most estate agents will give you a discount and tell you that it is in your best interest that everything is handled in house, you might be disadvantaged. The survey will not be conducted from your perspective, but the person’s who is trying to sell it to you. You want to know everything; how safe the area is, what schools are like, and the demographics of the neighborhood to make an informed decision.
4. Telling You about Other Offers
This common trick can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. You will hear about the other offers, but never learn the details. The best way to deal with this agent lie is to ask questions about the people who made the offer, and see their reaction. If you notice your realtor is confused and cannot answer straight to your questions, chances are there are no other offers, and you should not increase the amount, just to make them earn a higher commission.
5. Creating a Dream
The main job of real estate agents is to paint a dream lifestyle for you, so you cannot resist buying or leasing the home. However, the images is not realistic most of the time. Make sure you critically evaluate what your agent says. If they say that it is safe for the kids to play outside, and you see teenagers driving down the street every five minutes, you will obviously not want to believe them. If they say it only takes five minutes to get to your downtown office from the house, you’d better check it yourself to avoid disappointment.
6. Not Mentioning Extra Charges for Parking
If you rent an apartment in a popular downtown high riser, your agent might forget to tell you that you are required to pay for services, such as parking and building maintenance. You will eventually find out, but it is too late after you have signed the dotted line and got your keys. Always ask how much the property maintenance will cost you, and what the previous occupant paid for household bills.
7. Not Giving You Their License
The first thing your realtor should do when they meet you is giving you their license and showing you their industry registration documents. Without this, they could be a con, or an intern without real experience in the real estate market. You need to look up their credentials and find out how long they have been working in the area, so you can decide whether or not to trust them.
8. Fake Interest at Open House
When estate agents hold an open house event, they often ask friends and colleagues to attend. They will pose as potential buyers who are extremely interested in the house, creating a sense of urgency. The best way of dealing with this trick is talking to other people attending the event and asking questions. If they are not qualified liars, they will slip, and you can find out the truth about the interest in the home you are planning to make an offer on.
9. Making You Ignore Other Companies’ Listings
To protect their commission, realtors will try to make you sign an agreement that you don’t look elsewhere. This can potentially reduce your chances of getting your dream home. You will need to be open minded, and let them know that you are looking at other companies’ listings, as well, but you are happy for them to handle your negotiations.
10. Manipulating the Comparable Sales Report
Some realtors will try to manipulate comparable sales reports to get you to pay more. They often use a software to exclude some types of properties and get the average price they are looking for.
Before you get too excited about getting your keys to a new home, you need to make sure your realtor is completely honest with you, and you are given all the accurate information to make an informed decision.
There are few things in life more exciting than moving to a new house. Whether you’re the kind of person who loves a fresh start or you’re usually pretty comfortable where you are, there’s nothing like getting to find your way to a new house and start turning it into a home. Of course, before you’re able to do any of that then you’ve got think about how you’re actually going to do the move itself. As exciting as it can be to start over in a new home, the act of moving to your new home can be seriously difficult and stressful. With that in mind, here are some ways to make your house move just that little bit easier.
Get some help
The most stressful thing about trying to move house is the fact that you’re often left to deal with everything on your own. No matter how much you might think you can handle it, trying to handle a house move by yourself is always going to be the source of some serious stress. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a helping hand from time to time. A company like Chess Moving can make the whole situation much, much easier overall so that you don’t end up pulling your hair out. Of course, if you don’t have the budget to hire movers, why not get some friends and family to do it for you. Offer them a couple of drinks and some pizza, and they’ll probably be more than willing to help you out a least a little bit.
Start planning early
If you leave everything until the last minute when it comes to your move, then you’re almost certainly going to end up making your life far more difficult than it needs to be. Moving house is always going to be an incredibly complicated process and trying to do it all within a short time frame really is a recipe for disaster. Make sure that you start thinking about how you’re going to do the move well in advance and start packing away items and setting things aside weeks before it actually happens. Sure, it might seem like overkill a little bit, but the reality is that if you’ve got everything packed away and ready by the time moving day appears, then the whole thing is going to go much more smoothly.
Make lists (then make more lists)
Of course, when you’ve got everything packed away, it can be a total nightmare to try and figure out exactly what it is that you’ve packed into which boxes and which boxes go into which rooms. The best way to avoid this is to make lists of everything that you’re packing away. Make clear lists of exactly which items belong to which rooms and label every single box. Corresponding your lists to your boxes means that it only takes a glance for you to know exactly what items are where and which rooms they belong in. Sure, this might sound kind of ridiculous but treating your move like a military operation really can make the whole thing much easier than if you were just throwing things in boxes.
Do it step by step
One of the hardest things about trying to get started with a house move is the moment where you’re looking around your old house, and you simply don’t know where to begin. The best way to avoid this situation is to take it room by room. Start in the room that you use the least, something like the spare room or office, and slowly work through the house bit by bit until the entire place is cleared out. Sure, there are going to be places like the kitchen and bedroom that will need to be dealt with right at the very last minute, but the rest of your home can be dealt with much sooner. If you take it step by step then you’re much less likely to end up getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of packing that you have to do.
Of course, don’t expect any of these things to take all of the stress out of your house move. The reality is that you are always going to have those moments where you end up feeling as though you just want to pull your hair out and give up entirely. Just remember that, no matter how stressful things might get, it’s still only temporary and you should do everything possible to keep your new home in your mind so that you always have something to look forward to.
photo: Etsy. Buy the decal here
Your home is supposed to be the one place in the world where you feel at your most safe and secure. But if you don’t take the proper steps to ensure that you are defended from all kinds of threat, this is not going to be the case. In this article, we are going to run through a few of the practical ways protect your home and avoid a whole host of risky or damaging situations. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Of course, insurance is one of the things that you hope you will never need, but if a situation does arise that requires it, you will be extremely glad that you have it. When you take out home insurance, you should ensure that you are getting a policy which covers all your valuables. You should also compare the difference in prices that you can get as you also don’t want to be paying over the odds. Get the balance right and you will feel great peace of mind and comfort that you home is protected should the worst happen.
Protecting your house from the elements is another task which is worth doing. After all, prevention is always far better than the cure. How big a threat the weather plays to your home really depends on where you live, but you can still take steps to protect your abode regardless. For example, make sure that the roof is maintained on a regular basis to avoid leaks and draughts. Ensure that your home is as well insulated as possible with double glazing etc. The home is something which should always be seen as a work in progress as you continually improve things.
Protect from Intruders
A break-in is a devastating thing which can happen to any family. You can reduce the risk of this happening by taking a closer look at your home security. Alarm systems are always upgrading and being improved, so it may well be worth installing one of these. Also, you could look to have motion sensors put in to detect any uninvited visitors. Home intruders can also come in animal form, so you may need to get the support of a wildlife removal team. Taking some simple preventative measures can really make all the difference when it comes to your home’s security.
The last point that we are going to talk about may not seem as important as the first few, but home maintenance and general upkeep is very important. So, if you have a leaking tap, you should take steps to fix this rather than potentially letting it get worse. Don’t think that something like mould will take care of itself. Taking small steps now can potentially stop a huge problem from arising at some point in the future. A well-maintained home can also help to put off burglars who may be looking for a target that looks a little easier.
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Entering into the new year offers a whole load of new beginnings. People are making resolutions, dropping old habits, and making plans for the things that they want to do in the future. If you’re feeling like you don’t have much planned in the new year, why not take advantage of this time to start making a few improvements around your home? After all, coming out of the holiday season, you’re probably going to be in the mood for an early spring clean anyway. With that in mind, here are a few things that you can do to improve your home this new year.
Repair and maintain your appliances
The holiday season is the worst possible time for your appliances to go on the fritz but it’s almost certain that that’s the time when it’s going to happen. A lot of people end up ignoring any issues because they either don’t have the time or they don’t have the money to deal with it. Well, why not use the new year as an excuse to get them repaired. Of course, it’s a good idea to find the best possible people for the job. Someone like Stuart Pro can help deal with any issues with your heaters, and the right tradesperson can make your life much easier than if you tried to deal with it yourself. Just make sure that you don’t pick out the first name in the phone book. Otherwise, you could end up getting taken for a ride.
Show your yard some love
Your yard has probably been pretty neglected over the winter, and you’re probably getting pretty sick of looking at it. You might be thinking that you have to wait until the spring to start improving it, but you can actually start right away. Start pulling up weeds right away and pick out the kinds of things that you want to plant when the spring does arrive. Sure, you might not want to spend your time outside in the cold, but a little bit of time spent in your yard every day can do wonders for it.
Empty out your attic
For most people, their attic is little more than a glorified dumping ground for stuff that they no longer want to deal with. Why not clear it out and do something a little more interesting with it. It’s time to be brutal with the kinds of things that you want to keep and what you can throw away. After you’ve done that you might be able to convert your attic into a liveable space like a spare bedroom or a home office! Not only does that make your home a more pleasant place to be but it adds a whole lot of value to it as well.
Of course, you shouldn’t restrict these kinds of improvements to the new year. Far too often people end up ignoring problems in their home, constantly promising that they’ll get to them eventually. If you want to avoid getting into the same position next year, make sure that you take care of everything around the house that you can as soon as a problem comes up.
Buying a property for the first time is a massive decision. It is likely that this will be the biggest investment you have made by a mile. It’s not just about the financial commitment; being a homeowner comes with a number of other responsibilities. Is this something you are ready for? Let’s find out…
Are you ready to settle down?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself. How many job changes have you had in your life? Are you settled in your current job, or do you envision that you could move elsewhere in the future? Buying a house is a long-term commitment. You are not only committing to the property, but the area it is situated in, as well as the job market in this location too.
Can you really afford the monthly mortgage payment?
Many people are so eager to be homeowners, so much so that they agree to monthly payments they can’t comfortably afford. This is a recipe for disaster. You could end up with a nightmare on your hands if you are not able to pay your mortgage repayments. Not only this, but there are other costs you need to factor in too, including utilities you need to cover, water, insurance, and property taxes. It is important to put together a detailed financial plan so that you can work out how much you can truly afford per month.
Have you saved enough for a deposit?
The deposit you need for a property will likely be the single biggest investment you have ever made. This also relates to the unforeseen expenses that are linked with your acquisition. A professional firm like T. J. Lamb Real Estate can explain these expenses in further detail. Not only do you have the down payment itself, but you have taxes, insurance, and closing costs to account for too.
Are your finances in order?
What does your financial picture look like right now? Do you have a good credit rating? Do you have any loans you are yet to finish paying off? How many credit cards do you have open and do they have an outstanding balance? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. If your credit score isn’t great, you need to make the effort to improve it before you start house hunting.
Have you had all of your fun?
This isn’t to insinuate that being a homeowner isn’t fun. It’s extremely exciting. However, it may mean that holidays need to take a backseat, and that you cannot do all of the fun things you did before when you didn’t have such a large financial commitment. Are you ready to give all of this up?
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to whether you are ready to buy your first house or not. If you feel that you are not ready to buy a property, don’t fret; there is no time limit on buying a home. It is all about what is right for you.
Do you possess the home you desire? If not, why not? Do you not feel that you’re able to get it? We’d argue that you will one day, even if you’re not a homeowner right now. If you are a homeowner but feel dissatisfied with the general layout, then you have no excuse to leave it as it is. This is your home, and you always deserve to enjoy it to the fullest of your being. This is because your home is the place that should always make you feel welcome, energized and enthusiastic. It should be the place you relax from a busy day at work, a place you feel is yours, a place you feel completely and utterly safe in the general chaos of the world.
If you are unfortunately not experiencing this feeling in your place right now, then boy do we have the antidote for you. Using a service such as World of Renovation can help you get started, but on the whole you should identify what you want so you know where to begin.
Here are some ideas to help you:
How relaxing is your home? When walking into your living area, is your first thought how much you’d enjoy jumping on the sofa and talking with your children? Or is it how cluttered and oppressed you feel when trying to watch television? If it’s the latter, it’s likely that you either have too many belongings in the room, you aren’t making the most out of the natural lighting it receives, or you simply need to make the space more inviting.
Not everyone has a jubilant and colorful personality, but everyone should have a jubilant and relatively colorful living area. Even if this looks like basic tasteful ornamentation, a light tone of paint for the walls making up the room, or more comfortable sofas, this can surely make your time in this room more pleasant.
Nothing ruins a spectacular home like clutter. It truly hampers everything it touches. Not only does the chaos of too many belongings fragment your general perception, but it makes it harder to feel happy about simply cleaning chores. Reduce the clutter and stay tasteful. Find storage containers wherever you can to house your standard living items. These can look very tasteful, such as in hanging baskets in a child’s room, or under bed cupboard storage. When the clutters gone, you will surely notice it.
How is your home used? This is the main question you need to ask yourself. If it’s not designed in a way that spurs conversation between all members of your household, it could likely do with some improvement. The kitchen is the best place to start as often it’s the complete heart of the home.
If you’re able to do this you can find that your life becomes more comfortable when residing in the beautiful confines of your home. After all, this is your castle.
When you move into a new house, it’s easy to get a little carried away with making the house feel like a home. But once the initial excitement has worn off you just become content. However, you may now have decided to sell, or you just want to secure further your financial investment. So now you are looking at ways to increase the value of your home. So here are a few ways to add value to your home.
Adding value and making your house a home could be as easy as decorating it to your taste. Sometimes we can be lucky and very minimal decoration is needed. However other times you may need to strip wallpaper or re-paint walls. You may have been happy to have dealt with the previous owner’s choice of wallpaper but now is the time to strip it off and give your home a new lease of life. Your home could be outdated with its decor; perhaps artex litters your ceiling or coving. Updating and modernising the home can add value to it without too much expense.
A kitchen is always classed as the hub of the home. It’s a meeting point for family and couples to gather at the beginning and end of their day. Your kitchen may be where you work in an evening, or eat your meal with your loved ones. A new kitchen will add huge value to your home. You could consider some modern kitchen designs which will appeal to the masses. Modern fittings and a look with be great for you, but also add value to your home in the future.
Although a kitchen replacement can be costly, if the kitchen is old and outdated it will be worth the investment.
Bathrooms can be forgotten about. If they house a bath, a sink and toilet, most families are content. But it doesn’t cost that much to replace your bathroom with a new clean and fresh suite. This will always add value to your home.
Bathrooms can not be replaced for years. So many can look extremely outdated. They may also appear murky even though you know they are clean. It could be a worthy investment for the future without the big financial implication.
A quick change that not only benefits you but also a potential new owner is to consider the security aspects of your home. Installing security cameras, a decent alarm, or even just adding Ecotech Entry Doors to make the house or property more secure could be a great way to add some value. Security matters to new buyers, especially as a property is such a big investment, so this could be a worthwhile addition.
Maybe your house offers the opportunity to extend. Making it a space for you and your family to enjoy. You could consider extending to the side or rear of your home. Adding to the living space downstairs. Or maybe building up to extend the bedrooms. If you have a garage, a great extension idea is to go above the garage, to create an extra room upstairs. Alternatively, a less expensive option could be in the form of a conservatory.
I hope this guide helps you add some value to your home in the future.\
If you’re expecting a new addition to your family then you’re going to need space to grow together, as much of it as possible. Having your own home may be more of a possibility than you first thought. Becoming a first time buyer can be an exciting yet daunting experience. With such a big commitment there’s a lot to be thinking about. A lot goes into achieving those first magical set of keys to your very own front door.
Image from Country Living
If you are in the fortunate position to put down the house price in cash then go for it. If like most people you aren’t then you’re going to need a mortgage. Which sounds scary at first but works basically like rent that your paying to yourself. Well you’ll have to pay it to the bank but in exchange they give you the house. Pretty good deal. So how can you go about getting one?
First you’ll need to seek out advice from your bank to look into your financial situation. You are going to need a deposit, the earlier you start saving for this the better. A deposit for a home will be a percentage of the price of the property. This percentage will vary depending on which bank you settle an agreement with. You may be surprised to discover how low some deposits can be. If you have less than twenty percent of the property price saved then buying can still be achievable. Check out this helpful guide for more information about buying with less than twenty percent.
Save, save, save
You really can’t go wrong with saving. Lots of banks offer a variety of savings account that can help you towards achieving that goal. An individual savings account will be a great way of keeping the taxman at bay and it doesn’t matter if you are a basic rate taxpayer or a high rate because you won’t have to pay income tax on the interest it makes.
Find out if your local government is offering help to first time buyers. Write to your local council or check online for schemes available in your area.
Where do you want to live?
Now that you know what options are available to you it’s time to start searching the market. There will be pros and cons to any property. It’s worth finding out about the community in the area you would like to move to. Spend some time in a couple of pubs and ask the locals what they really think. It’s also good to think what you want from your new home, making decisions on what’s really important to you will be difficult. Ask yourself what your willing to give up and what you just can’t go without.
Just thinking about buying a new home is already a step in the right direction. It’s not going to be easy but those keys will be yours before you know it and you’ll be decorating in no time.