Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/17/2019

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a seller’s market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see what’s out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. You’ll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, you’ll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, you’ll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the “perfect” house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. It’s very unlikely that you’ll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, you’re going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that you’re interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer that’s reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if you’re not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing You’re Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers don’t want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Don’t be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/10/2019

Let's face it – buying a home in a hot housing market is no easy task. For example, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you risk losing this residence to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you rush to submit a home offer at or above a seller's initial asking price, you risk spending too much to acquire your dream residence.

Clearly, there's a lot to think about as you search for a home in a hot housing market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you overcome myriad homebuying hurdles and acquire your dream residence, even in a hot housing market.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you succeed as a homebuyer in a hot housing market.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

You know that you want to live in a specific city or town, but you still are uncertain about what type of house that you want to purchase. However, if you create a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying process.

Once you have a homebuying checklist in hand, you should have no trouble evaluating residences in a hot housing market. Then, you can check out these houses in person and move one step closer to submitting an offer to purchase your dream house.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

To acquire a home in a hot housing market, you'll likely need a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can teach you everything you need to know about a wide range of mortgage options.

Lenders can explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, describe exactly how a mortgage works and much more. That way, you can assess many mortgage options and select one that matches your finances.

After you obtain a mortgage, you can enter a hot housing market with a homebuying budget. This will enable you to further accelerate your home search and ensure you can quickly submit an offer as soon as you discover your ideal residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Navigating a hot housing market sometimes can be tricky, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing against dozens of rivals. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you pursue a home in a hot housing market.

A real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. This housing market professional will offer insights into the real estate conditions in a particular city or town and help you map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

In addition, a real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to buy a residence in a hot housing market. He or she will help you put together a competitive offer on any home, at any time. And if your offer is rejected, a real estate agent will help you regroup and reenter a hot housing market so you can find your dream home.

Ready to buy a home in a hot housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accomplish your homebuying goals faster than ever before.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/3/2019

Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.

In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.

We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.

  • ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.

  • Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.

  • Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.

  • Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.

  • Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.

  • Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.  




Tags: Mortgage   terminology  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 1/27/2019

Whether you’re a young professional moving to an urban flat or an empty-nester looking to downsize, the challenge of living in a smaller space is sometimes daunting. The things you want (keepsakes, books, collections, specialty kitchen appliances) and the things you need (room for clothes, a home office, space for a guest) vie for the same square footage. How can you fit it all into your space without it being a cluttered mess? Find the hidden spaces in your home.

Of course, first up is getting rid of items you no longer use, want, or need. Once that’s done, take stock of what remains. Seasonal items should go on one list and everyday items on another.

Resourcefulness
Pass a critical eye over your furniture. Can you use space under, behind or above it? Will it do double duty?
  • A narrow bookshelf set behind your sofa provides storage for seasonal items and functions as a sofa table.
  • Stack vintage suitcases or trunks filled with blankets, seasonal clothing or keepsakes beside the bed or sofa as an end table.
  • Slide baskets under a coffee table for smaller items you use often. Or turn a cubby shelf into a coffee table for dual use.
  • Put storage bins under the bed for sweaters, blankets, or guest pillows.
  • Store sheets and extra blankets under your mattress.
  • Use a tall bookshelf behind your bed. It replaces the headboard and nightstands, then adds extra storage both above and behind the bed. Keep seasonal items on the lower shelves behind the mattress and items you use often in the exposed shelves above.
  • If you rarely bake, store pans in your oven. 
  • Typically eat take-out? Store extra dishes in that unused dishwasher.

Creativity
A little creative effort goes a long way when looking for space. Hack something you already own or an inexpensive purchase into multi-purpose storage.

  • Hang shower rings from a hanger to hold scarves, ties, or tank tops.
  • Install a towel bar to a closet wall below the hanging clothes and hang your heels over it, freeing up much-needed floor space. Or, use a peg rack or stick-on hooks to hang sports shoes and flats.
  • Use binder clips to hold computer and charging cords in place and off the floor.
  • If the space between your bed and the wall is too small for a side table or nightstand, hang a floating shelf to hold books, your cell-phone, and glasses.
  • Add cushions to the top of a low storage shelf to create extra seating.
  • Add stick-on hooks to the insides of cabinet doors to hold lids and cutting boards.

Ingenuity
Innovative storage is an industry all its own. Retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, IKEA, Target, and several online-only outlets specialize in dual-purpose pieces to help get the most use from a small space. Here are some you may find useful:

  • Look for an ottoman that makes into a sleeper. Use it as your coffee table, then pop it open for casual overnight guests.
  • Buy a platform bed with drawers or one that lifts on hinges to access storage underneath.
  • Install a table that hangs on the wall and folds down when not in use.
  • Install modular shelving with a deeper shelf at desk height for a home office solution.

No matter how small the space, there are ways to maximize it. If your home is on the market, ask your real estate professional which items to leave out and which to find a hidden home to make the best impression on a buyer. 




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 1/20/2019

Once you have moved into a new home, you’re going to want to make it look amazing with some nice furniture. If you’re in too much of a hurry, you can make some very common furniture buying mistakes that will cost you more than just the money you have wasted on furniture. Read on before you begin filling that new home with sofas, chairs, and tables.  


You Don’t Plan For Style Or Practicality


If you’re a young couple moving into your first home, you probably have a lot of plans for the future. Children may possibly be a part of those plans someday. Remember that a $3,000 leather sofa may look really great when it’s just the two of you. Fast forward a couple of years to the terrible twos and envision permanent marker all over that beloved couch. Keep in mind that the lifespan of heavily used furniture is anywhere between 7 to 10 years. 


Even if children aren’t in your future plans, the same problems are true for pets. If you don’t have a dog and purchase the expensive sofa knowing that you have plans to get a dog, you should think twice. Pets can claw furniture and leave behind clumps of pet hair. If you have plans for children, pets, or both, consider the type of fabric that you’ll have on the furniture carefully. It’s important to select pieces of furniture that suit your life, budget, and aspirations. 


You Buy Everything At Once


It can be tempting when you have an empty house to try and buy all of your furniture at once. If you buy everything at the same time, you won’t have any room for flexibility to buy pieces to add to your collection from other stores at a later date. The best way to approach filling an empty house is to buy the big necessities first, then fill the rest of your home as you find what you like and need. 


You Forgot To Measure


Imagine this: You just bought your dream bedroom set. The delivery people come to the house to drop it off, and it doesn’t fit in the space! When we see things in the store, we often make every effort in our minds to convince ourselves that it will look good in our home. The reality is that furniture needs to fit in order for it to actually “work” in a room. Before you even set out to buy furniture, take measurements of every room that you’re shopping for. Have the list handy of all these numbers that you can refer to. 


Finding the right furniture comes down to avoiding impulse buys for these big purchases. Planning is everything when it comes to filling your new home with furnishings that will last the test of time and design.