What You Should Know Before Your Final Walk-Through

Once you have found the home of your dreams, submitted an offer that the seller has accepted it is time for you to begin preparing for your final walk-through of the property.  A final walk-through is often arranged by your real estate agent at least a week prior to the closing.

The purpose of a final walk-through is to ensure that the property is still in the same condition as it was when you last visited.  It is also used as a way to ensure that any repairs that were agreed to be made by the seller, have been completed.  There are typically two types of final walk-throughs, one is a formal arrangement that often requires that you sign a contract addendum stating that you have completed your final walk-through and have found everything to be satisfactory.  The other type is an informal walk-through that you and the seller agree to without any additional paperwork necessary.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind when performing your final walk-through.

  • A final walk-through shouldn’t be considered a home inspection.  By now you should have had an inspection performed on the property by a reputable home inspector.
  • Bring a copy of your contract with you.  This is a great idea, you may need to refer to certain parts of it during your walk-through.
  • In some cases, the seller will be present during the walk-through.  If this is the case, you should view it as an opportunity to find out any specific details about the property.  The owner will be able to offer you information that their agent may not have been aware of.
  • If the home you are purchasing has been vacant for a long period of time prior to you purchasing it, the walk-through should not be ignored.  Since the last time you visited the property, a pipe may have broken or other damage may have occurred.  This will give you an opportunity to inspect the damage sooner rather than later.
  • While preparing for you final walk-through, you may want to create a checklist of things to look at during your visit.  This list should include inspecting the exterior of the home, especially if the area has recently experienced severe weather.  Make sure that the seller hasn’t removed any fixtures or accessories that were supposed to remain in the home.  Check to make sure that any repairs that should have been made have been.  Carefully look at all ceilings, walls and floorboards for any signs of water damage that may not have been noticeable before.

By taking your time and carefully looking at even the smallest details during your final walk-through, you will be well aware of any problems that may have developed since your last visit.  A final walk-through is an important part of the home buying process and should not be ignored.  This is your final chance before closing to take note of any problems that may not have been properly resolved.

Three Things You Should Know About Homebuyer Budgeting

If you have decided that you are ready to become a homeowner, there are some things that you should know about preparing your homebuyers budget.  If you are currently living from paycheck to paycheck, in order for you to become a homeowner, you are going to need to make some financial changes.  Once you make the decision to purchase a home, it should become your number one priority.  To be able to purchase a home that you can call your own; you may have to begin making financial sacrifices in order to make your dream come true.  To financially prepare yourself for the purchase of a home, you should begin planning at least one to two years before you ever make an offer.

The first thing you should be doing during this time is building a strong credit rating.  The better your credit rating is, the easier it will be for you to be approved for a home loan.  If you have some problem areas in your credit history, now is the time to take care of those problems.  Experts suggest that buyers clear any unpaid accounts as soon as possible.  You should also request and carefully look over your credit report.  If you find any errors it is important that you contact the reporting agencies and get it fixed as soon as possible.  If you are like many of us and have balances on your credit cards and outstanding car loans or student loans, it is important that you keep all of these accounts current and do your best to avoid missing any payments.

The next thing all prospective home buyers should do during this time is start saving cash.  This can easily be done by placing so much every month into your savings account.  The cash that you save during this time can later be used for a down payment.  The amount needed for a down payment can vary depending on the type of loan you will be applying for.  This is also where buyers will need to start making sacrifices.  During this time you should avoid making any unnecessary purchases that can take away from your savings.  Weigh your needs against your wants and make practical spending decisions.

During this time you should also be working to reduce the amount of outstanding debts that you may have.  If you have a lot of debt, experts suggest that you pay it off before starting to save.  By keeping your debt at a level that you can financially handle, lenders will feel that you are a good risk.  If your debt is out of control but you have accumulated a large amount of savings, they may feel that your priorities were not in the right order.  It is important that you do everything possible to pay off or manage your debt responsibly during this time.

Why You Shouldn’t Overpay For Home Features

When sellers begin thinking of listing their homes, they inevitably begin to focus on improvements they may have made or features that initially drew them to the property in the first place.  While the seller may place significant value on these added features, buyers should avoid doing the same.  No matter how great the view is from the back deck or how imaginative the garden design is, as a buyer, you should not place any additional value on these features.  Below we are going to offer you some strategies that you can use when looking at homes that list special features.

When looking at homes that you are interested in purchasing, it is important that you do not become too emotionally attached.  This is especially true today as the real estate market continues to improve.  If you become emotionally attached to a home, it may end up costing you big time in the end.  Buyers who have developed an attachment to a particular feature tend to let their emotions get the best of them when it comes to making an offer.  Odds are that the same feature you are in love with is the same one that other buyers have also noticed.  Allowing yourself to be guided by your attachment to these items may end up creating a bidding war between you and another interested party.  While this may be good news for the seller, it will not be good for you; you may actually end up paying more than the home is worth simply because you couldn’t live without that specific feature.

It is important that when looking at potential homes you think like a seller.  You should take into consideration the features that you fell in love with and how they will hold up over time.  Will they add any value to your home when the time comes that you want to sell, or will they end up costing more money to maintain.  These are important factors to consider when you begin searching for your next home.  Do not allow special features cloud your judgment, take a minute to think about how they will impact the price you are willing to pay and what you will get for your home should you sell.

As the market continues to improve, you will likely see that there is a shortage of available homes, if you find one that meets all of your requirements, you should act quickly.  There is no guarantee that the home you saw last weekend will still be available once you have seen all of the other available homes in your area.  However, do not feel forced to submit an offer on a home simply because of the special features that it has.  If you find a home you like, you can always add features of your own in a few years.

Five Real Estate Recovery Myths

The real estate market is full of myths that have been passed from person to person through the years.  When these myths reach new ears, they have the power to create fear and panic in both buyers and sellers.  The recent improvement in the state of the real estate market has led to the creation of new and fast spreading myths.  What we are going to do is try to explain them and show you how they are not relevant.

  • Recovery Is Happening Too Fast – With the sudden rise in home values, many individuals believe that this recovery is happening too fast.  This has led to the belief and fear that this recovery will lead to the same problems that were experienced during the last real estate crisis.  Here’s the truth, markets have cycles.  This means that the market will once again experience high and lows, hopefully the lows won’t be as severe as the last time.  There is no need to panic, simply understand that markets regularly rise and fall, it is in their nature.
  • Demand Is Being Driven By Investors – The myth is that in some states real estate investors are purchasing a lot of low priced homes.  The people purchasing these homes do not plan on living in them; rather they are going to use them as investment properties.  The truth is that buyer demand is showing signs of increasing, however, these purchases are being made by first-time homebuyers and buyers simply looking for a new home.  Investors have been making purchases, but they are not solely responsible for the increase in demand.
  • Sellers Are Unable To Sell – The myth circulating in this scenario says that sellers are stuck and unable to sell their homes for their appropriate value.    This may have been true during the recent recession, however home values are on the rise and sellers are beginning to notice that their value is getting closer to what they believe their home is truly worth.  This is now a better time to sell a home than it has been in previous years.
  • Interest Rates Are High – The myth regarding this situation is that interest rates have risen dramatically and aren’t as low as they previously were.  The truth is that interest rates have gone up, but they haven’t reached a point where they are too high to work with.  The rise in interest rates has been slowly occurring since the real estate market began to show signs of recovery.  The Fed is showing signs that they plan on raising rates, but that will not happen until 2015.
  • Foreclosures Are Over – During the recession we saw more and more homes foreclosed than in any other time.  The myth regarding this is that foreclosures are no longer occurring.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Foreclosures continue to take place; the only difference is that they are not happening as often as they were in prior years.

Is a Big Yard Really That Important?

A big yard is on the wish list of many home buyers, but is it really that important.  Many potential buyers have a vision in their head of what they would do if only they had a big yard; what they don’t take into consideration is how much work goes into maintaining a large yard.  If you are a buyer who doesn’t have the time necessary to care for and landscape a large yard you may want to reconsider homes with moderate to average sized yards.

During your home search you may tour properties that feature a large yard, and they may seem appealing because of all of the hard work that the current owners have put into them.  What you need to take into consideration is whether you and your family are willing to put in that same amount of effort to maintain the existing landscaping and mowing.  There are many benefits to owning a home with a large yard, but there are also just as many drawbacks.

Another thing to consider when looking at a big yard is the amount of trees that are growing on the property.  Trees require a lot of maintenance, especially if they are in close proximity to the home.  If the property that you are viewing has a lot of trees, you should also inquire if any of them are varieties that produce fruit.  Fruit producing trees often lead to more birds, squirrels and raccoons which can present danger to your animals and children.  If you are not interested in keeping these trees should you purchase the home, you will also need to take into consideration the cost of removing the trees.

While having a large yard will allow you to entertain and host parties for your children, they also mean a lot of work before and after your next party.  In order to prepare your yard for a party, you will need to spend some time mowing and trimming the lawn.  Weeding any flower beds that may be part of your landscape and clearing the yard of any debris that your guests may stumble on.  If you enjoy entertaining regularly and hosting outdoor BBQ’s this is definitely something that you should consider.

Large yards can be a lot of fun for you and your family, but they can also require a lot of work to maintain.  Before you purchase a home with a large yard you should take into consideration everything that will need to be done on a regular basis to ensure that your yard continues to look great year round.  If you feel that a large yard may be more than you can handle or are willing to take on, you should choose a home with a yard that is within your landscaping abilities.