Alyx Akers
Five College REALTORS ® | 413-320-6405 | AlyxAkersRealtor@gmail.com


Posted by Alyx Akers on 2/23/2020

Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house that’s right for you. There’s always a fear among buyers that they didn’t look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A seller’s market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, you’ll need to move to make an offer on it! 


The Average Buyer


People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property that’s right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what they’re looking for.


Know Where You Want To Live


Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area. 


Match Your Lifestyles


Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:


  • Where your friends live
  • Where your family lives
  • Where you work
  • What you do for fun


Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you don’t want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also don’t want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.      


Make A List


It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what you’d like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isn’t as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While it’s not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, it’s best to put an offer in.





Posted by Alyx Akers on 2/16/2020

As a home seller, you need to do everything possible to learn about the competition. By doing so, you can find out what sets your house apart from other available residences and promote your home accordingly.

Ultimately, gaining a competitive advantage over rival home sellers can be simple – here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Become a Real Estate Market Expert

Allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze the real estate market closely – you'll be happy you did. With housing market insights at your disposal, you can map out a successful home selling journey.

Take a look at the prices of homes that are currently available in your city or town. Focus on houses that are similar to your own, and you can establish a price range for your residence.

Also, examine the prices of recently sold houses in your area. This will allow you to see how long it took for these residences to sell. Plus, you can find out whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market.

2. Learn About Your Home's Condition

Conduct a home appraisal, and you can gain unparalleled insights into your house's condition.

A home appraisal usually takes just a few hours to complete. During this appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and identify any home problems. Then, the inspector will offer a report that outlines his or her findings.

Following a home appraisal, you can determine the true condition of your house. That way, you can prioritize various home improvements and ensure that your home's condition serves as a key differentiator after you list your residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to approach a competitive real estate market, there is no need to worry. Many real estate agents are available to assist home sellers and provide these sellers with extensive support throughout the home selling journey.

A real estate agent can offer tips to help a home seller bolster a house's interior and exterior. This housing market professional understands what it takes to promote a residence to the right groups of homebuyers too. Thus, he or she will do everything possible to guarantee your residence stands out from the competition.

Perhaps best of all, no question is too big or too small for a real estate agent. If you want to know the prices of recently sold houses in your neighborhood, a real estate agent can provide you with the pricing data that you need. Or, if you want to enhance your home's interior, a real estate agent is happy to help you discover the best ways to transform your house's interior from drab to dazzling.

Competition is fierce among home sellers. But with the aforementioned tips, a home seller can gain a competitive edge, one that can help this seller accelerate the home selling journey and get the best price for his or her house.




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Posted by Alyx Akers on 2/9/2020

A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. If a homebuyer knows how to plan for an inspection, he or she should have no trouble getting the most out of this opportunity.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for a home inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

Not all home inspectors are created equal. And if you make a poor home inspector selection, you risk missing out on potential problems that may result in costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line.

When it comes to finding the right home inspector, it pays to be diligent. As such, it is crucial to allocate time and resources to conduct an extensive search for an expert house inspector. Because if you have a qualified home inspector at your side, you can get the support you need to perform an in-depth property evaluation.

Ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final decision. That way, you can find out what past clients have to say about a home inspector and determine if this professional is the right choice for you.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection

Although you are not required to attend your home inspection, it generally is a good idea to walk through a property with a professional inspector. By doing so, you may be able to gain insights that won't necessarily appear in your house inspection report.

You may want to take notes during your home inspection as well. If you remain diligent throughout your home inspection, you can understand a house's strengths and weaknesses. And as a result, you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide whether to move forward with a home purchase.

3. Ask Questions

There is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when you buy a house. Thus, if you have concerns or questions during a home inspection, address them immediately.

Remember, a home inspector is happy to respond to any of your property concerns or questions. He or she can provide honest, unbiased responses to your queries and help you make an informed decision about a house purchase.

As you prepare for a home inspection, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions to help you get ready for a home inspection and put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, a real estate agent will help you review a house inspection report so you can determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.

For those who want to get the most out of a house inspection, you may want to prepare as much as possible. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can streamline the home inspection preparation process. Then, you can enter a home inspection with a plan in hand and use this evaluation to decide if a house will be able to serve you well both now and in the future.




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Posted by Alyx Akers on 2/2/2020

Photo by Allison Gillett via Pixabay
 

You can create a stunning outdoor kitchen using basic components and pulling things together over time. Entertaining outdoors has become so popular that supplies and materials for cooking are easy to come by in a variety of price points. Follow the steps below to make the most of the process. 

Foolproof Steps to Creating an Outdoor Kitchen you'll Love

Determine what you need. A kitchen showroom can be overwhelming -- but you may not need everything you see. If you love the look of the striking pizza ovens, but no one in the family eats pizza, you may get little use from this purchase, and miss out on the space you've used later. What do you like to cook, what do you like to serve and what components matter most to you? These should go to the top of your list. 

Where will people sit?: The best part of an outdoor kitchen is the entertaining you can do in the space. You should think about how many people you like to host at a time, where they'll sit and what you envision for the space. An outdoor kitchen that is designed for the family and a guest or two may need to seat six people, but if you entertian large groups, then you'll need to allot more space to seating -- 12 to 16 people is an ideal start. 

Where will you keep the food? Do you want to prep inside and cook outside? Or do  you prefer having everything together? If you need the food on hand, a fridge should be included in your plans. If you want to keep the food inside, consider adding a wine or beer fridge instead; it will take up less room and get regular use. 

What will you cook? A grill is a great starting point, since you can cook a variety of foods. Determine if you want to buy a freestanding piece or have something built in -- this will likely be the largest and most expensive component. Once this is in place, decide what else you need; other cook surfaces, a sink or specialty surface could be next on your list. 

Begin with your largest pieces, like your grill and table, then add items as you need too. Your pillows, textiles and accessories can be chosen last, then added and used as needed to create a space that is uniquely yours. 

Your outdoor kitchen can be a work in progress; you don't have to complete it all at once. Adding something new each season or year allows you to spread out the cost of your new kitchen and add components as you need them. 




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Posted by Alyx Akers on 1/26/2020

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

One of the biggest hurdles people face when looking for a home is applying for a mortgage. While applying for a mortgage is relatively straightforward, finding favorable terms might be more challenging. Many buyers are surprised by how broad the terms of a mortgage might be. With this in mind, it is critical to understand the most common mistakes people make when looking for a mortgage.

Not Looking Locally First

The most common mistake people make when looking for a mortgage is not looking locally first. Many are tempted to use the internet to seek out a loan. While there is nothing wrong with looking around (in fact, this is encouraged), don't forget to head to the traditional bank or credit union a few miles down the road. There are professionals who are interested in building a relationship with the local community often providing more favorable terms.

Assuming All Mortgages are the Same

Don't assume all mortgages are the same. This is far from accurate. Applying for a mortgage can be an involved process that people rarely want to do this more than once. You may assume the next lender will offer similar terms. In reality, some lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points on the mortgage. Some might even offer a lower interest rate, be sure to ask what special offers may be available.

Not Locking In the Rate

One of the common questions people face when applying for a mortgage is whether or not they would like to lock in the rate. The fear of locking in the rate is that, if the mortgage rates drop, they might miss out on the opportunity to save money. On the other hand, people also forget the alternative. The rate might actually go up. The downside to this is that their monthly mortgage payments may not be affordable anymore. Go ahead and lock in the rate.

Not Putting Enough Money Down

Lastly, many try to save money by not putting enough cash down. When you don't put enough money down, you may end up with a higher interest rate and a higher monthly mortgage payment. Additionally, you may have to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance, also known as PMI, for the lender making the monthly payment even higher. To prevent this from happening, make sure the down payment is large enough to satisfy the lender, usually between 10 and 20 percent.




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