Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
Most homebuyers start the process anxious, excited, nervous, and some are downright terrified. It’s natural. A home is the largest and most expensive purchase that most people will make in a lifetime. It can either turn out to be a complete financial disaster or a smart long-term investment.
The person standing between it being a huge financial mistake or a valuable asset is you, the agent. Still, the agent can only help as much as the buyer allows. As vital as having an experienced agent by their side is, there are things that first-time homebuyers have to do.
Here is a list of tips to help first-time homebuyers help you the agent do the best job that you can do. When you are approached by a first-time homebuyer, share this list with them to help them get off on the right foot.
- Tell Your Agent Everything: You don’t want any surprises; neither does your agent. Let them know upfront about any financial issues on your credit report. Be as detailed as possible about your goals and be flexible.
- Make Lists: Write out a list of the things that you want and a list of the things that you need in a new home. Share this list with your agent so that they can better help find what you are looking for. Update or add to your list as you think of things and share those changes with your agent.
- Keep Notes: Your agent is going to keep solid records of the homes that you see. However you should also keep your own notes as you go to open houses. After each home, share what you liked and what you didn’t like with your agent. That will help him or her narrow the search down for you.
- Organize Your Documents: Keep your documents organized and all in one place. If you have a pre-approval letter, keep that with you on house hunts in case you decide to make an offer. Any documents that you will need like inspection reports or appraisals should be readily available as you search for homes.
- Stay Positive: Maybe the most important tip for first-time homebuyers is to stay positive. Even after you have found the home that you want, made an offer, and had it accepted, the process of closing the deal can sometimes take longer than you’d like. Stay positive. If you’ve looked at several houses and still haven’t found what you want, stay calm. Trust your agent to get it right for you.
Signs that Now is the Time to Sell Your Home
There are many reasons why it may be time to sell your home. You may need more space to make room for a growing family or you need to downsize after your kids leave the nest. Whatever your motivations, you want to make sure that you’re timing it right.
If you sell when home prices are plummeting, you may end up losing on the deal. If you sell when home prices are highest, there may not be a lot of buyers looking to move. So how do you know when it’s a good time to sell?
A qualified agent can help you determine if the market puts you in a good place or not. But for your own personal situation, here are the signs telling you that now is the time to sell your home.
You’ve Outgrown Your Home
Whether you are expecting another child, caring for an aging parent, or have taken in your adult children, when you’ve outgrown your home, it may be time to sell your home. Consider the permanency of the change. Will the kids be there for a long time? How long will you be able to care for your aging parent? Buying a bigger home is one of the main reasons why homeowners choose to sell.
You Need to Make a Change
Change is inevitable. Maybe you’re tired of shoveling snow and you want to live in a warmer climate. Maybe you have to move so you can go after your dream job or you want to be closer to family. When change entails moving, then a home sale becomes necessary.
Home Prices are on the Rise
This is one of the riskiest reasons to sell your home. Sure you may get more than you ever dreamed for your home when prices are on the rise, but that also means that you will pay more for another home. Perhaps your agent can help you find a steal in a new location where prices are more level. Then you will have made a huge profit and a smart move.
You Need to Downsize
Many homeowners are selling in order to downsize. The baby boomer generation is moving into their golden years. The kids are all out of the house and you just don’t need all that space anymore. Selling now could add a nice healthy sum to your nest egg as well. As long as you are smart about how much of that profit to spend on a new place, downsizing could be just the right move for you financially.
You Can No Longer Afford Your Home
Sadly, there are homeowners who just can no longer afford their home. Whether it is due to divorce, illness, a death, a skyrocketing mortgage payment, or the loss of a job, change in your financial circumstances is a big red flashing sign that now is the time to sell your home. Waiting any longer could have catastrophic financial consequences.
In any situation you find yourself in, an experienced agent is the key to helping you achieve your goals. Learn more about how to determine if now is the time to sell your home by speaking with agent now.
Remodeling Projects That Will Boost Your Home’s Value
There are two ways to think about remodeling projects that will boost your home’s value; you can get one or two major remodels done or opt for a bunch of small fixes. Depending on your budget and your timetable, one approach may be better for you than the other.
For instance, if you have an unfinished basement, maybe your dream when you first moved into your home was to refinish it. It never happened. But now that you are thinking about selling your home, you feel that a prospective buyer would really appreciate a full finished basement. Is that the remodeling project that you should do before selling?
On the other hand, you want to spend as little as possible to squeeze as much value out of your home. Maybe you would prefer to just spruce up the kitchen cabinets or repaint the house. Whichever camp you fall into here are some remodeling project ideas that usually add at least a few thousand dollars to the value of your home.
Depending on where you live, some remodeling projects bring in more dollars on resale than others. Here are some of the interior remodeling projects that can help boost your home’s value:
Kitchen Upgrades: Potential buyers these days want spacious, modern kitchens. Simple upgrades like adding new appliances, granite countertops, or new cabinets can pull in the big bucks. Some big-ticket improvements that usually add value include:
- Adding an island
- Adding a breakfast nook
- Adding new ceramic flooring
- Adding accent lighting
Removing Walls: The style right now is open concept kitchens and living rooms. If you have an older home, you could knock down a wall or two to really open up more interior space. If they’re load-bearing walls, removing them will usually push the price tag up. But non-load- bearing walls are easy to take out to add a pass-through window or a bigger entryway. Use a professional contractor to make sure the job is done right.
Room Additions: Believe it or not, adding a new room to your home is not as expensive as you might think and can greatly increase your home’s value. Think about converting your attic into a spare room or building a new room addition onto your house. The added space increases the overall square footage of your property and will push your asking price up.
They are often overlooked when making improvements to your home, but there are a number of exterior projects that can boost your home’s value. Here are just a few ideas for exterior improvements:
- Outdoor Living Space: Especially in warm weather climates, buyers want a home with comfortable outdoor living spaces. That could mean adding in a slate patio or a wooden deck. Make your outdoor living space an oasis by adding in path lights, pathways, plants, shrubs, and trees.
- Siding Upgrades: If you are making simple upgrades on the cheap just to spiff up your home exterior, a good paint job will do. To really boost your home’s value try adding new siding. If you replace portions of your siding with stone veneers, it will greatly improve curb appeal and your home’s value.
- Driveways/Garages: If you haven’t paved your driveway in a while, new paving is an excellent exterior improvement that makes a good impression as soon as buyers pull up to your home. Your garage doors and exterior also make a good or bad impression. Even if you do not make any changes to your garage, you should clean it out and organize its contents for resale. Replace broken windows and locks and give it a good paint job.
A qualified agent with years of experience in the real estate market can help you determine the best improvements to make based on your particular market. When you’re ready to learn more, connect with me today. I’m happy to help!