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Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/2/2019

Once youíve made up your mind that you want to buy a house, either to decrease your rent or increase your income, the next hurdle will be choosing the right property. You will find no shortage of glossy brochures or recommendations from all sides telling you why this flat or that house is best for you. So, which of the many voices should you pay attention to? Here are some guiding principles to help you make the right choice:

What are your home ownership goals?

Why do you want to buy a house? Do you want to live in it for the rest of your life, or is it just a place to start as you save up for your dream home? Is it your retirement paradise or is it an investment that you will flip for a profit after a year or two? Alternatively, you could just be in the market for a getaway cabin for your family.

Problems or challenges youíre dealing with in your current residence may contribute to some of these goals. Put them down in a list as some of the criteria any potential new home has to meet.

What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?

If youíre buying a dream home or retirement retreat, this will be particularly important as this is where youíll be spending the rest of your life. You want to live in a place where your neighbors hold dear the same aesthetic values as you. If you enjoy your peace and quiet, you might not want to live in an area where residents are allowed to hold loud parties until the wee hours. 

How seriously is security taken in that neighborhood? How clean is the area? Is there a management committee or neighborhood association that looks into such issues?

Have you exhausted your options?

Before you seal any deal, ask yourself, ďCan I do better?Ē You may have found a house that nearly checks all your must-have boxes, but there could be one down the street that does the same at a considerably lower asking price. Donít assume thereís no better deal out there. Be willing to keep looking even if you feel youíve been scouring the market for too long.

Write down your home ownership goals and hold them up against all the homes youíre considering for purchase. Make sure your real estate agent understands your goals so they can help you find the best home.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 4/29/2018

If youíre making the transition from renting an apartment to buying a home, it can be difficult to ensure you have a place to stay while you search.

There are a number of reasons you may need temporary housing while house-hunting. Maybe youíre moving to a new state and need temporary housing while you search in the area. Or, maybe you just donít want to sign a year-long lease on a new apartment that you donít plan on staying in for a full year.

Regardless of the reason, weíve got you covered. In this article, weíre going to talk about how to find temporary housing while you navigate your way toward homeownership.

Short-term rentals and sublets

One of the most convenient way to rent an apartment while you search for a home is to simply find short-term rentals.

Landlords use leases for a number of reasons. Among them is knowing that they can count on a tenant to stay long enough to be worth the hassle of going through the rental process.

However, there are some landlords who cater to people who need to rent for only a certain amount of time--namely business professionals and college students. Landlords rent to these people with short-term leases because they are certain that they will get the full lease amount in pay.

Similarly, searching for sublets is a good way to find an apartment on the short-term. Sublets are often cheaper than their normal renting price because the tenant needs to find someone soon. Youíre especially likely to find a sublet if you plan on moving in May or June when college students are going home for the summer.

Another service that could be helpful is Airbnb. Many people think of Airbnb as a tool for finding a vacation home or spare room while traveling. However, there are also a number of short-term rentals on the site. You can simply enter the dates youíre planning on staying and compare results. Just be sure to read reviews of the house to be sure that youíre dealing with responsible and trustworthy property managers.

Words of caution

While short-term rentals can save you money while you search and help you avoid a lease, they do come with risks. For example, if renting off of Craigslist, never send sensitive data, payments, or bank account information before verifying that they are actually the manager of the property.

If you do decide to sublet an apartment, take photos when you move in so that tenants or landlords donít try to hold you liable for any damage caused before or after you leave.

Finally, if you decide to go with a service like Airbnb or extended stay hotels because they appear cheaper than renting, remember that you wonít be able to store your belongings there and might have to pay for storage and a moving truck to transport your belongings. These extra fees can add up quickly over a couple months.

Once youíve determined your options for temporary housing, hunting for your new home will become much easier.




Tags: house hunting   renting   sublet  
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Posted by Julie Shanks on 10/29/2017

Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.




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