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


Posted by Alyx Akers on 3/22/2020

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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Posted by Alyx Akers on 3/8/2020

A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.

Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.

Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector's past clients, you can find out what it's like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.

2. Attend Your Home Inspection

You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.

A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.

For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won't be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.

3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results

Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report Ė you'll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.

Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don't hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.

As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.

Take the guesswork out of a home inspection Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.




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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 thatís right for you. Thereís always a fear among buyers that they didnít 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 sellerís market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, youíll 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 thatís 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 theyíre 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 donít want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also donít 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 youíd 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 isnít as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While itís 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, itís best to put an offer in.





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 1/19/2020

The factor that has the most impact on your home search is your finances. Youíll need to save a significant amount of money. Itís not easy to save when you have continuous monthly bills and responsibilities. Read on for tips on how to get your finances under control in order to save the amount of money it takes to buy a home.  


Do A Budget  



Once you have decided to buy a home, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your finances. A budget is critical when you buy a house because it tells you how much youíll have to spend on your mortgage. Doing this ahead of time will allow you to maximize your income and make adjustments ahead of time as needed. Donít forget that even though youíre buying a home, you still need some savings in addition to all of your other monthly expenses. Your budget should be outlined as follows:


  • Necessities
  • Monthly utility spending 
  • Insurance bills
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Grocery spending


Basically, you want to write down how much money is coming in and where all of the money is going. Thatís a budget in a nutshell. See where you can cut back. What youíre left with is the amount you can save each month. You may want to do this on a percentage basis rather than a flat dollar amount. 


Get A Separate Account


The most straightforward things to do when you start saving for a home is to put all of your money for your house fund into a separate account. This way you can automatically transfer money in, and youíll be less likely to spend any of the money if you donít see it.


Sacrifice The Small Things


Can you take some hand me downs for your kids? Maybe you can start packing a lunch for work instead of buying lunch. Can you cut the cord on cable? It may be hard to sacrifice small luxuries, but these expenses can add up. If you cut these out of your budget, youíll have a little more wiggle room to save for a home purchase. Youíll be surprised how much money you can save just by doing little things. Your morning latte is probably around $5. You could save at least $25 per week by merely making coffee at home! Thatís a saving of over 1,200 per year!   


While saving for a home can seem overwhelming, if you take it in small chunks, youíll be see the results of your efforts rather quickly. 





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