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


Posted by Alyx Akers on 10/13/2019

When you make the decision to buy your first home, you should be certain that youíre ready to make the leap into homeownership. Thereís many different things that you should do as a buyer to get ready before you even set out on the search of a perfect home.


Choose An Agent


You may think that one real estate agent is the same as any real estate agent that youíll find. This is far from the truth. Some agents have certain specialties. The knowledge that an agent will bring to your house hunt is often invaluable. You are making one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make in your lifetime. While many buyers think that they can simply do an online search themselves to find a home, your realtor will have many more resources to assist you in finding exactly what youíre looking for.


Figure Out The Financial Portion Of Buying A Home


While knowing how many bedrooms you need and where you hope to live is important, understanding your finances is even more important. Youíll need to talk to a lender to get the process started. After looking at your own personal budget, you should get pre-qualified. Getting pre-qualified allows you to see a general number of how much house you can afford. That can help you start the process, however, thereís still a few more steps. 


From here, you can do what needs to be done to get your entire financial picture ready to buy a home. This includes saving for a downpayment, improving your credit score, and continuing to keep up bill payments and consistent work history. 


Next, youíll want to get pre-approved. This allows your lender to dig into your financial picture. Everything from your credit score to your income and employment history will be considered. Your lender will then give you a more definitive number of how much youíll actually be able to get for a loan when you buy a home. To get pre-approved, be prepared with 1099 forms, pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. Youíll then have the concrete amount that youíre approved for along with the interest rate that you qualify for. 


Once You Have Applied For A Home Loan


Once you find the realtor to assist you and secure the home of your dreams, youíre not free to head out and buy all the furniture that you need to fill up your house. The home loan must go through the underwriting process and until that is complete, your finances are essentially on lockdown. If you start opening new credit cards, decide to buy a car, or fall behind on payments, you could end up in a lot of trouble. You want to keep your credit score stable throughout the process of buying a home for smooth sailing.





Posted by Alyx Akers on 10/6/2019

Historic homes are coveted by many for their charm. Some want a home with history while others one with ďgood bonesĒ of bygone construction methods. Whatever your motivations one thing is clear: owning a historic home is a rewarding experience.

This is usually due to the effort, time and investment put into maintaining the homeís old world charm. Those who take on a historic home should be ready for a project in some capacity either right after buying or down the line.

Maintaining, and sticking to, the classic style and shapes while working under stylistic limitations takes time and effort. Be sure that when purchasing a historic home itís one of an era whose style you really like. This is because many historic homes have what is called an easement in place. What an easement does is dictate what owners of that particular estate can and can not do to the home to maintain its historical integrity. This can limit everything from additions to siding color.

Historic homeowners should also be ready to get creative during the renovation process. Old houses have their quirks, itís best to embrace this when making changes and to work with them - not against them. Knocking out walls and shaving down flooring to be perfectly symmetrical compromises the entire structureís historic roots. If you absolutely must have perfect walls and flooring a historic home is probably not for you.

With that said when viewing homes ensure that any crookedness is from settling over time and not from damage to the sill plate. The sill plate is the topmost part of the foundation and especially vulnerable due to this placement along ground level. If there is damage to the sill plate know that the entire structure of the home is also compromised and in need of serious, and expensive, attention. If this is the case, itís best to walk for most homeowners.

A warped or compromised sill plate can also mean water damage. Another sign to look for water troubles is a sump pump in the basement. You want to keep an eye out for water damage, as this is a very serious threat to the structure and can also attract all kinds of bugs.

If you have your heart set on a historic home but find all of this overwhelming a historic home expert, either a contractor who specializes in historic homes and/or a local historian that restores homes, can help you significantly through the process. In fact, overwhelmed or not itís best to bring an expert on board during your buying process. This person should be in addition to your home inspector - not in place of. You also want to be sure to find someone who understands that you want to preserve and restore a historical home and not just gut the building.

Plan your budget well. While restoring a home is usually a passion project for many you still donít want to overinvest and end up taking a huge loss if you eventually resell. Know what restoration projects in your area typically go for and use these as a guideline for your own budget.

Donít be afraid to start small if you are on a tight budget or this is your first restoration project. These projects can take years so when planning start here first: roof, windows, and masonry. Create a watertight home first to prevent any further potential damage.

The good news about historic homes is that there are plenty of grants and tax programs for homeowners planning on restoration. Not every loan option will be available to you if the home requires major work but there are loans available specifically for major repairs such as the 203k. Know your options before you start looking as this will a major determination factor of your budget and the degree of work youíll be able to put into a home.





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Posted by Alyx Akers on 8/18/2019

For the most part, itís safe to say we all know to come prepared when buying an older home. But did you know that the buying process of a new construction home comes with its own quirks? The customization and relationship with the builder through the process makes for a unique experience when buying a new construction home.

Hereís what you need to know:

Some developments have site registration policies. This means that they require you to come with your agent for at least the first couple visits. Donít be caught off guard. When planning your viewings be prepared to work with your agent's schedule as well as your own.

Instead of asking to lower the cost ask when negotiating ask the builder to pay closing costs or to include upgrades. Youíll have an easier time getting a yes to these requests as builders donít like to lower costs and gain a reputation for doing so in the process.

New construction homes arenít a final product when purchasing. Because of this, itís critical to get details on paper to protect yourself during the buying process. Details to include are how the home will be finished, any and all timelines, and what will happen if, for whatever reason, the home is not finished in time. Get all of this in writing to create a binding contract.

Ask questions! When touring the model house be sure to ask what comes standard and what is an upgrade. Get costs of upgrades that catch your eye so that you can plan your budget. When planning this budget you will also want to leave wiggle room as this will be a quote and not final cost. Your agent can help you create a list of common features that are standard and/or upgradable as well as ballpark costs.

Budget Tip: When deciding on upgrades know which are easier to have done during construction. Prioritize those over those that can easily be done after. Think upgrades that include wiring or getting into walls and ceiling for whatever reason.

New construction homes often come with a warranty. Itís important to know what this covers and what it doesnít. Understand your cancellation rights and hire a real estate lawyer to review contracts and any important documents.  

Research the builder and if possible talk to other residents in the neighborhood. Ask them about their experience both during the buying process and living in the development afterward.

One thing that often catches home buyers off guard is when the builder requires you to get pre-approved by their lender even if you use your own lender. This is to safeguard themselves by ensuring you pass their lenders requirements for a safe investment. Itís also important to keep in mind that you may even get better rates and fees from the builder's lender.





Posted by Alyx Akers on 7/21/2019

A diligent homebuyer understands what it takes to shop for a residence. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to discover a house that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to become a diligent homebuyer, including:

1. You can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch residence.

Buying a home can be a long, complex process, particularly for those who lack housing market insights. Fortunately, it is easy for any homebuyer to become a diligent homebuyer, thanks in large part to the wealth of housing market data that is available.

A diligent homebuyer can analyze the prices of recently sold houses, along with the prices of homes that are currently for sale. By doing so, a diligent homebuyer can understand whether he or she is shopping in a buyer's or seller's market. This homebuyer also may be able to narrow his or her home search.

For those who want to acquire a first-rate residence, diligence is paramount. And as a diligent homebuyer, you may be able to identify many opportunities to purchase a deluxe residence.

2. You could save money on a home purchase.

When it comes to shopping for a home, there is no need to overspend, regardless of whether you're searching for a residence in a buyer's or seller's market.

Meanwhile, a diligent homebuyer is a thrifty home shopper who understands how to save money on a house.

A diligent homebuyer, for example, may be more likely than others to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This homebuyer will meet with a variety of lenders and learn about all of his or her mortgage options. That way, a diligent homebuyer can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and avoid the temptation to overspend.

Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer knows how to stay calm, cool and collected in stressful price negotiations with a property seller. This homebuyer will possess the housing market insights to make an informed purchase decision. In addition, he or she will have the confidence to walk away from a potential home sale if price negotiations get out of hand.

3. You can accelerate the homebuying process.

Although a diligent homebuyer analyzes real estate market patterns and trends closely, he or she usually realizes that navigating the housing sector alone can be tough. Thus, a diligent homebuyer may reach out to a real estate agent for extra help.

A real estate agent can provide even a diligent homebuyer with the necessary assistance to speed up the homebuying cycle. This housing market professional can help a homebuyer understand and overcome assorted property buying hurdles. Plus, he or she can offer expert insights into the housing market that a homebuyer may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

If you plan to purchase a house in the near future, it definitely pays to become a diligent homebuyer. This property buyer will be able to browse a broad array of high-quality houses, assess these residences effectively and seamlessly move through the process of acquiring the perfect home at the lowest price.




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Posted by Alyx Akers on 7/7/2019

Although being a first-time buyer can seem overwhelming, there was one advantage to the entire process: You didnít need to sell another property. If you would like to move out of the home that youíre currently living in and are in the process of buying a new place, your life is about the get complicated! Hold tight to your realtor and get ready for quite the ride. 


Since itís often unrealistic to pay two mortgages at once, thereís a certain way that you must complete the transactions so as not to cause a huge financial headache when moving from one place to another. Unfortunately, youíre going to have to deal with buying a new home and selling your current one simultaneously in most cases.    


The good news is that it can be done! Read on for tips to find out how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible. 


First, youíll want to understand the housing market that youíre in. Youíll know what strategies you need to employ if you understand the type of market that youíre dealing with. If the two homes are in completely different areas, this research will be even more important to you. 


Buying


While youíre searching for a new home and selling your current one, youíll want to leave your options open. That means not locking yourself down to just one home. Of course, youíll only put in one offer at a time, but knowing whatís out there for you to buy is important in case the purchase falls through on the first prospective home. This way you wonít have much chance of being ďstrandedĒ once your old home sells. 


Selling


You want your home to be sold in a timely manner. This means that your old home should be well-priced and ready to sell. Work with your realtor on staging, pricing, and holding open houses. The more effort that is put into marketing your home, the better chance youíll have of selling it. Extra time on the market means that youíll have a bigger headache when it comes to buying your new home. Selling quickly is not a bad thing so long as you have some other place to live. You can also put a contingency in the sale stating that you need to find suitable housing before you can move. Realtors can do a lot when their sellers are cooperative and proactive.           


Should You Buy First?


If you sell your home first, youíll have an easier time getting a mortgage on a new home. The problem here is that youíll need to find some sort of temporary housing before you even head out on the house hunt.


If you buy a home fist, your buying power may be less than if you sold your current home. Your debt-to-income ratio will be higher, giving you less money to spend on a new home.


While buying and selling a home simultaneously can be complicated, if you strategize correctly, youíll be able to go through the entire process with ease.   

 





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