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Articles Tagged "Home buying process"

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February
26

 

 

Home warranties are an interesting thing, considering they can bring peace of mind but also affordable fixes for a home with older appliances. A seller may offer one in closing to sweeten the pot, which makes it a reasonable consideration for potential buyers. Even though a home warranty may sound like good financial protection, it is good to know more about them and whether this investment is worth making.

 

How a Home Warranty Works

A home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company. Costly repairs on appliances in a new home purchase can be difficult to swallow, especially after spending so much to move into the home. Home warranties typically cover repairs of a furnace, air conditioning unit, plumbing, and electrical systems. Major appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators are often also included. Most plans offer the basic coverage, but some additional components can provide a better umbrella for any repairs that are needed which exceed the basics.

 

Know the Costs

Even though a home warranty is only a few hundred dollars upfront for a year, the cost depends on what property is purchased. If the family owns a condo or townhouse, the warranty may cover more or less than a single-family home and costs will shift accordingly. The home's square footage does not impact the price unless the property is more than 5,000 square feet. Garages should be covered by the basic policy, also. Some other considerations:

  • Home warranties charge a service call fee of between $75 to $125 every time the request is made to examine an issue
  • If more than one contractor is needed, there may be costs for each of them to visit the property
  • Some problems are not covered by the warranty or will be denied coverage

 

Peace of Mind

A home warranty truly provides peace of mind to homeowners looking to pay the premium 'in the event something happens.' Much like any other insurance, those premiums get paid out in case something were to go wrong or something major breaks. For sellers of the home, a one-year home warranty with purchase can provide protection against buyer complaints later if defects arise. This does not exempt a seller from the legal requirement to disclose problems with the home upfront.

 

Potential Drawbacks

One gray area homeowners may not be aware of once they move is the 'proper maintenance' clause. This clause is the source of many disagreements between home warranty companies and warranty holders. Companies may use this clause to exclude or deny claims. The homeowner and contract who make the house call may disagree on what constitutes proper maintenance. If the furnace was not maintained by previous owners, for example, they may limit how much they payout or the company can deny payment of the claim. Another area that is not always discussed is the fact the premium may get paid yearly but that money could be put into a fund for emergency repairs that won't cost a premium upfront. Just because a premium is paid, and a contractor paid to visit the home, does not mean repairs will be made and the homeowner is out a few hundred dollars or more.

 

Although a home warranty is not a guarantee, it is protection against potentially expensive repairs. Prior to purchase, discuss it with the realtor. Find out the options and check around. Be sure to know your options before you buy one and make sure it is the right choice for you and your family. 

 

Choice Properties works with families to ensure they make the best decisions possible when buying a home. We help you navigate the process of buying a home from the start of your search until closing. Our experts work hard to ensure you are satisfied with the process of looking for your family's next home. Call us if you are ready to find that perfect property to suit your needs. 

December
5

Buyers looking to get into a home are often looking to finagle their way to a good deal just as much as the seller wants top dollar. Each one has to compromise and meet in the middle when it comes to negotiations. Finalizing the offer can often be a tough road, but once both parties come to an agreement, the real fun starts. When a seller accepts the offer, there is still a lot to do. Find out how to navigate this road to complete a home sale. 

Sign the Purchase Agreement

An offer on a house is considered 'under contract' when it is accepted and signed in writing by both the seller and potential buyer. This written contract is called a purchase agreement. Think of it as the first step in finalizing the sale of the property. There are some things to keep in mind about what it means:

  • Financial details are outlined like earnest money deposits, financing, and closing costs
  • Contingencies
  • Timelines are laid out
  • Closing date is agreed upon

Lots of little details are figured out at this point like the condition of the home, disclosures, and any seller concessions, repairs or credits. Once the agreement is signed and money deposited, the buyer has the right to purchase the property.

Negotiations

Sellers ultimately want to get the most for their house value. They are often willing to negotiate lots of things to get what they want, but the buyer also wants a good value. A counteroffer may be thrown out there at this time but a seller may not want to make requested changes. When thinking about negotiation, consider the purchase price and down payment, adjusting the length of closing, modifying contingencies and reviewer any credits being offered. When accepting a home buyer's offer, make sure all the cards are on the table to make it the best sale possible. 

Backing Out

Trying to get out of a purchase agreement can get kind of messy, a bit in that gray area of the process. Withdrawal of the offer if agreements are not made can be tricky. What determines how things go really depends on where things are in the process and the reason for backing out. Negotiations can always be made, but it might be better for both parties to re-negotiate than lose out on the sale and purchase of the property.

Acceptance of an offer might seem like the endless days of finding the perfect home has come to an end. However, it is the start of another journey to finalize everything and close. Until close, anything can happen. Work with your agent to establish a game plan and prepare the way for things that can happen between an agreement to the final closing. A home buyer's offer can be accepted with lots of contingencies to finalize, so be aware of all these walking into it and have an open mind until the day of close to being open to the process for the best outcome.



Looking for the best real estate professionals to help in home purchase and sales can be difficult. Look no further than Choice Properties to help you finally end that search and give you what you need. With all the options out there, we work with you to determine what you want and how to get there. Contact one of our top notch realtors at Choice Properties who specialize in your local market to find the property that is right for you.

December
10

 

Moving to a new home is nerve-wracking for many homebuyers, regardless of whether it is their first time or one of many homes they have purchased. Location is key for many buyers, with good reason. A decent location with access to quality schools, easy transportation to work, and local, family-friendly activities gets people excited about the possibilities of being in a neighborhood that functions well and will be a home for years to come. A home that is near a busy highway or roads can be a worthwhile investment, so long as the family knows all the pitfalls of being too close to traffic. Learn more about roads and highways and just how much they impact home value.

 

Mapping the Roads

Traffic volume, location of major roads, and proximity to homes are all key elements of understanding the way roads and highways affect home value. If a road is marked as a 'motorway,' this usually indicates high traffic. Anything marked 'residential road' usually has low traffic volume. It is important to talk with the realtor and find out more about the neighborhood if there are concerns about traffic or noise pollution. Even suburban areas with residential neighborhoods can have higher levels of traffic, depending on pending developments or other issues at hand. 

 

Adjusting Values for Roads

It helps when looking at home values to understand why we need to adjust them based on roads. It is difficult to know which road is responsible for a home selling for more or less than its value. By reviewing maps and local home values, it can inform some of the reasons why this happens. In most cases, a home may be affected by a busy road only by distance to the nearest busy road. The distance and cutoff approach does not work well where there are fewer homes. If a home is near a big highway but another one is between that home and the highway, it is still reasonable to consider a busy road adjustment for the first home. Homes not so near that highway will not have the same adjustment, even if they are still nearby. A group of homes or subdivisions located near a highway might have higher home values if it is a commuter situation where people in that area are likely to live there because they can compute costs associated with people desiring a location near arteries that take them into a major city. People likely will pay more to live in those areas than rural ones further from desirable ones. 

 

Road Geometry

Home values are calculated by looking at road geometry. This means reviewing home coordinates and putting them into a set of points for a given market. This generates a diagram from the set of all points. This Voronoi diagram looks at all home points to compute where the region touches a road point. If a home region touches a road region, that home is adjacent to that road. The region of space is closer to that road than anything else. Data may seem unimportant but it is the bigger picture of how home values are determined. New roads are built all the time so it is important to keep it updated for buyers and sellers, as well as real estate agents. Looking at this data gives people an idea where the best places are to build with the best opportunity to sell their units and make a profit. When people have information, they are more empowered to move forward with their purchases and sales, informing the process all the way through. 



Finding that top-notch property is tough work. There is a lot to consider. When you make the decision to work with Choice Properties, we have done all the leg work. All you have to do is find the house of your dreams and we are ready to help you make it a reality. We specialize in meeting your home buying and selling needs all the way to close. Call us to find out how we can help you today.   

April
17

Buying a Home for Retirement

Buying a home after you have retired may feel like an overwhelming challenge. You may be asking: Should I stay in my current home? Should I downsize to a smaller house? Will moving into a new home fulfill my needs? Buying a home for retirement is a financial commitment, but comes with a return of investment and a list of benefits! Whether you are looking to downsize or simply desire a fresh start in a new home, here are some considerations to ask yourself along the way.

Location

The first step to buying a retirement home is choosing the area you wish to live. Real estate is all about location, meaning it is especially important to choose the correct spot to retire. Depending on the situation some of the factors that may influence your decision include proximity to friends and family, the yearly climate, and neighborhood preferences. Perhaps a community with sidewalks for evening strolls, or nearby parks for afternoon picnics will suit your needs.

Budget

Purchasing a home upon retirement depends on your budget, and how much you are willing to spend. Of course, choosing to apply for a mortgage is always an option although most include home buying into their retirement plan. If you are planning to purchase or build a retirement home, knowing how much you can realistically afford to spend will help set expectations.

Maintenance

It's well-known that the cost of owning a home is more than just the mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Factoring in the expense of maintenance and upkeep is also an important consideration when browsing for a retirement home, as most desire low-maintenance living. Whether you are seeking a home with ample yard space for a seasonal garden, or a neighborhood with homeowners association that tends snow removal and lawn care, the award winning agents at Choice Properties will help you meet your goals.



Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.

February
27

Real Estate Buyer FAQs

Homeownership is a common goal shared by many in the United States. Buying a home may be one of the biggest investments we make in life and is a rewarding accomplishment! Although many share the dream of owning a home, it's common for most people to be scared about following through the process. This is due to the homebuying process feeling intimidating or overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Working with the right real estate agent will make the process go smooth and easy. The expert agents at Choice Properties have answered your real estate buyer questions to help put your mind at ease.

Am I ready to be a homeowner?

The first step from taking the leap from being a renter to a homeowner is viewing your current financial status. Start by taking a financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts, and assets. Lenders look for those who hold a strong financial status and reliable job, as a mortgage loan must be paid on time. Another factor to consider is your credit score. Maintaining a good credit score will help you get the best loan and interest rate.

Is renting or buying a home better?

While renting and buying both have pros and cons, it simply comes down to what a person wants when buying a house. Many look at this opportunity as an investment and take pride in homeownership. This allows you to build equity with monthly payments, while also qualifying for tax incentives to help offset new homeowner expenses.

What do I look for in a new home?

When starting your home search, start by gathering your thoughts by creating lists. Identifying what you are seeking in a home, whether it's more space or a large backyard. This will help set expectations within your home search. Ask yourself if the home you are interested in is large enough to fit your needs now and in the future.

How do I get a mortgage loan?

Before setting up appointments to tour homes, it's best to shop for a mortgage rate to understand your budget. In the pre-qualification phase, you are given an estimate of what you can borrow based on your financial status. To be pre-approved for a mortgage loan means a lender has agreed to offer you a specific amount.




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

January
9

A Checklist for First Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home comes with a wave of exciting emotions but can feel just as scary diving into the new world of home ownership. Purchasing a home is the American dream, and you should feel proud of your accomplishments! With this being one of the largest investments you'll make in life, it's worth going into the process knowing what is required. The award-winning real estate agents at Choice Properties have created a checklist for first time homebuyers, ensuring your set and ready to start house hunting!

Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report

The first task you should check off your list is checking your credit score. This is the number mortgage lenders will refer to when determining your loan approval or amount. If your credit score isn't where you want it to be, keep working on improvement! Having a good credit score will save you money down the road, as a higher credit score means a lower interest rate. While you are reviewing your credit report, be sure to double check for any blemishes or mistakes. Credit errors are more common than you think, and reviewing your report ahead of time allows you to contact the credit bureau to correct any mistakes.

Calculate a Budget

After ensuring your credit is in the clear, you can now calculate how much you can afford when buying a house. Consider using a mortgage calculator to determine your monthly mortgage payment, which allows you to adjust depending on the size of your down payment, the type of mortgage, and interest rates.

Shop For a Mortgage Lender

Just as you shouldn't buy the first car you test drive, you also shouldn't accept the first loan offer by a mortgage lender. Different mortgage agencies will offer a wide variety of rates and programs, so it's best to shop around to find one that matches your preference.

Find a Trusted Real Estate Agent

Although you think you may be able to tackle the home buying process alone, there are small details that go into making sure you find the best home at the best deal. Finding a trusted real estate agent ensures you are negotiating the appropriate price while not missing out on new postings. Working with a buying agent who immerses themself in the market allows you to rest easy with minimal stress. At Choice Properties, our expert agents make our customers a top priority, promising to work hard until we find the home of your dreams.

Visit Open Houses

While your real estate agent is finding you a home that matches your wishlist, it is also encouraged to browse open houses in the meantime. Browsing the internet for online listings is great, but viewing the properties in person is even better. Take advantage of open houses during weekends, mapping out times and directions to plan a full productive day. Taking photos and notes at each house helps you keep your thoughts clear and precise.




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

September
5

An Overview of the Mortgage Loan Process

Through the various steps of purchasing a home, the getting qualified for a loan may feel the most overwhelming for first-time homebuyers. The expert agents at Choice Properties understand this and are here to guide you through, which is why we created an overview of the mortgage loan process. From getting an assessment to a loan officer pre-approving you, we want you to enjoy every moment of making your dream home a reality.

Pre-Approval

The first step to obtaining a mortgage loan is go through a meeting with your lender to discuss credit score and credit history with a third party, called a tri-merge credit report. This will give you an estimate of how much money you can borrow based on financial information, such as your employment and income. Mortgage pre-approvals show sellers that you are serious with a home purchase, making you stand out among other interested buyers.

Pre-Qualified

During your research for a mortgage loan you may find pre-approval and pre-qualified, but it's important to know the difference. A pre-qualification holds a lesser meaning and is a simple glance at a borrower's credit and capacity to repay a mortgage. This is usually completed by a loan officer asking the borrower simple questions regarding credit and there is no third party involved. Although this step is good to have with your lender, it usually does not influence a seller or real estate agent.

Final Approval

This is the most excited step of the mortgage loan process! Closing on a loan means the mortgage is official and final disbursements are made. During the final approval, documents are drawn where they are then sent to the title company where the closing takes place. You have a three day window to view the terms of the loan before officially signing. Once the documents have been signed, you are then ready for move into a new home!

 

 

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

August
22

4 Reasons You Should Buy a New Home this Fall

Fall is beautiful season for many reasons, from orange and yellow hues on the trees, to pumpkin carving with kids and savory comfort soups on the stove. There are many reasons to fall in love with fall, but did you know it is also the perfect season to buy a new home? Similar to how you score deals at your favorite clothing store during the season change, real estate works the same way! Fall is one of our favorite seasons here at Choice Properties because of those who are taking advantage of the peak season. Our expert agents have listed the top 4 reasons you should buy a new home this fall!

Inventory from Spring

Those who are looking to sell their home tend to do so at the first sign of spring, assuming the fresh greenery and flowers blooming will appeal buyers. Although there is never a bad time to sell, these homes often get listed too high resulting them sit on the market throughout the summer. If the house is still on the market come fall, the price usually gets reduced making it a prime time. This is the perfect time to browse properties you have had your eye on to see if they are still available and if the price is down.

Less Competition

Most families with children start their home-hunt at the beginning of summer, allowing them to move right before the new school year. This also means these buyers are no longer shopping for a house, creating a decrease in the competition. Take advantage of open houses being less crowded, leaving conversations with a good first impression expressing interest.

Sellers are Motivated

With winter and the end of the year approaching, sellers are more motivated to get their homes sold in order to close before the end of the year. When selling before December 31st, they are ensured a tax benefit. Most sellers are also looking to close before holiday's, eliminating the stress and thought to enjoy time with family. If you come across a seller who seems eager to get the process moving, take advantage!

Lack of Landscaping

With the trees losing leaves and summer flowers dying, landscaping may seem unappealing to multiple buyers making them uninterested in the space. Keep an open mind and use this as a motivator to think creative.

There is a great deal of benefit from those who decide to buy a new home during the fall months. If you decide to hold-off on shopping around until fall, you will be grateful to see an open market with reduced pricing and less competition.






Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

July
23

 

What's the Difference Between a Fixed Rate and an Adjustable Mortgage Rate?

Taking on a new journey of buying a home is an exciting time, but also comes with creating a budget and researching loan options. You may be asking yourself, what's the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable mortgage rate? While the marketplace offers a wide variety of loans within these two categories, the first step when researching mortgage options is determining which of the two main loan types fit your needs.

Fixed Mortgage Rate

A fixed rate mortgage is a well-known loan option, especially for those looking to buy their first home. During this loan option, the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, ranging from 10, 15, or 30 years. During that time, the interest rate does not change giving homeowners a state of certainty.

Adjustable Mortgage Rate

The second loan option is an adjustable mortgage rate. Unlike a fixed rate, this option means your interest rate can change periodically meaning monthly payments could go up or down. Adjustable rates typically start with a low interest, but will rise as time goes on, also rising your house payments.

One of the most difficult decisions most homebuyers will deal with is choosing between a fixed loan or adjustable loan. At Choice Properties, we understand each buyer situation is different, motivating us to ensure your home needs and desires are met.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

June
13

How Does Your Credit Card Debt Affect Your Mortgage Rate?

Credit card debt is a common discussion in today's age and, when handled responsibly, can be a great way to boost your credit score when applying for a mortgage. Although a little credit card debt can do wonders, having too much can hurt your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan. Most Americans set a goal of buying a home, making it important to keep credit card debt under control. If you find yourself asking, "How does your credit card debt affect your mortgage rate?", then stay tuned to hear our expert realtors of Choice Properties explain the potential outcomes.  

Having High Credit Card Balance

If you have a high credit card balance, be prepared to show proof of available funds used to pay off the balance. If you lack the funds you could be subject to a higher interest rate on your loan. Having a strong credit history with monthly payments will help show your financial security, preventing a rise in interest rate. It is important to remember most lenders check credit in the final stages of your loan approval. You do not want to risk running up your credit card debt before closing, even if you are approved for a favorable loan rate as this could delay closing.

Having Zero Credit

When applying for loans with a history of zero credit, you may be asking yourself what options are available. Although the mortgage loan process is different, there are ways to secure a loan with no credit score. Applying for a government loan, or FHA loan, requires more paperwork as you must show you have paid rent or bills in the past. These typically come with a larger down payment. A second option is to have a co-signer, preferably someone with a history of good credit. If you prefer to avoid both of these methods, we suggest taking 6 months or more to build credit.

By lowering your credit debt or even paying it off, you are lowering your interest rate on a mortgage loan. Controlling unnecessary spendings and maintaining a strong monthly payment will set you on the right track of a good mortgage rate. Once you are ready to go, the realtors at Choice Properties will be waiting to help find the home of your dreams!




Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

May
16

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is a rewarding accomplishment in life. To officially call yourself a homeowner and knowing your hard work paid off is a memory that will last forever. Although you should feel prepared to avoid pitfalls, it never hurts to research common problems almost all new homeowners experience. The last thing you should be worrying about is not being prepared for the unexpected. We have curated a list of costly mistakes to avoid after buying your first home to help your process be smooth and memorable.

Investing in Multiple Expensive Home Improvements

Updating your home consists of fun projects worth planning, but don't let the eagerness make you invest in too many home improvements at once. Tackling one project at a time will keep your budget in line and ensure a well completed renovation. If you are debating between which home improvements to start, consider speaking with a trusted real estate agent to discover which options add more value to your home. Adding value to a home is a great option when planning for long-term goals.

Ignoring Maintenance Issues

Moving into a new home comes with the chance of having to deal with any surprises, from a leaking sink to water damage. Tackling these small maintenance issues in the beginning will prevent you from spending extra money down the road, as the issue only progress in time.

Selecting The Cheapest Options

The saying "quality over quantity" goes hand-in-hand in renovation, even though quality may come with a price. Whether it is the flooring you choose or the contractor who installs, avoid making a poor mistake only for the fraction of the cost. When searching for contractors to assist in home renovations, be sure research previous work and read testimonials from clients in the past. The price you pay will show within the materials.

Performing a DIY on Complicated Projects

Do it yourself projects are fun and shows off your hard work! However, don't get too wrapped up in a project you can't handle or finish yourself. Painting your walls and hanging art are great tasks to complete yourself. When it comes to electrical issues or plumbing, it's best to leave those for the pros. Hiring a professional will not only save time and money, but will ensure a completed project performed the right way.

Calling yourself a homeowner is exciting and should come with a proud feeling! It's important to keep in mind the responsibilities that come with homeownership, from small maintenance issues to big renovations. Be prepared when tackling sudden leaks or water damage to keep your home value rising.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

February
22

 

 

 

Many steps are included in the process of buying a home which can feel overwhelming. A good realtor can support individuals who are going through the steps of seeking to understand the process before getting pre-approval and making offers.

 

Impound Account

An account that is set up by the mortgage lender to pay certain property-related expenses on a person's behalf is called an escrow (impound) account. This is used for expenses like property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Many mortgage lenders require an escrow account to insure the property is not at risk. Fees vary from year to year and generally are rolled into monthly mortgage payments.

 

How Escrow Works

Escrow accounts come into play with several home buying expenses like home buyer's earnest money. If an offer is accepted then an earnest money check is deposited into the real estate broker's escrow account. The account is used for earnest monies only and other funds may not be mixed in with earnest money deposits but is received back at closing.

 

Requirements Vary

Each state varies but many states require an escrow account. Even if a person's state does not, it is helpful to have one. Without escrow, homeowners will be responsible for large property-related bills in lump sums and not always when it is most convenient (if it ever is with home issues). Failure to pay property taxes on time can also result in high fines and fees. The portion of a payment that is property tax and home insurance are taken out of each payment made and placed in escrow until it is time to make the payment. This also serves as insurance that the property is not at risk. The practice then also helps protect the homeowner and lender of record.

 

The best thing to do is to conduct research personally and with a dedicated realtor who can point potential homebuyers in the right direction to make wise and sound decisions. Home buying is not something to take lightly as there are many things to consider. When it comes to escrow, many potential homeowners decide to go this route so costs are covered automatically without too much forethought. Others may wish (if possible) to do without but it is certainly up to the homeowner to decide what to do based on research and what is best for the personal situation each family faces.



Get started on your search for a new home or prepare to sell property with award winning agents at Choice Properties Real Estate. Located in Logan County, we are ready to serve and assist you with all your real estate needs.