Protect Yourself: Use an Agent When Buying from a Builder

  Q: Do I need to hire a real estate agent to represent me when I buy a new home from a builder?  A: Legally, no. But if you don’t, you might be missing out on some tangible benefits that impact your wallet and how much you get for your money. There are many reasons why an agent is a sound investment during the purchase process with a builder. While some of them can be quite complex (and go beyond the scope of this blog post), here are a few highlights: Market Value Compared to Purchase Price: How much money

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The Truth Behind Renting vs. Buying a Home

  Are you doing the math these days around renting versus buying a home? Trying to decide if you can afford to buy? If so, you’ve probably Googled one of the many “rent versus buy” calculators out there to help you get a handle on your budget. True, they’re helpful, and they can also help clue you in to things like insurance expenses and property taxes, but they overlook a number of key factors in the decision. A mortgage is a surefire way to build wealth. Provided you don’t buy more home than you can truly afford, your mortgage is

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6 Tough Home Pricing Truths

  The pricing conversation is always a challenge. You want top dollar for your home, and your real estate agent will, too. After all, a better commission comes from a better price. But a lot of psychology and strategy goes into home pricing, and if you don’t go in with your eyes wide open, you could end up heartily disappointed. Here are some tough truths about home pricing. While they can vary a little depending on unique market conditions, they should all be in the back of your mind as you prepare to list. Some agents will try and “buy

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What to look for in a home warranty

The idea of a home warranty can sound great. According to the National Association of Realtors, a home warranty is defined as, “a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Coverage is for systems and appliances in good working order at the start of the contract.” It sounds simple: You insure critical systems in the home, and should something go wrong with those systems, the cost of repairs is largely covered by

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What to Look for When Evaluating School Districts

  Given the way most communities work, the location of a home dictates the local school district. The quality of the school district can have a direct impact on the value of your home. Even if you don’t have kids or don’t have to plan kids, the quality of the local schools can positively or negatively effect your home’s value. Buyers tend to prefer homes in good school districts, either because they have school-aged children, or they are thinking of resale value down the line. So how do you know if your local schools make the grade? What signs point

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How to Build Neighborhood Connections

If you’ve recently relocated to a new neighborhood, you may find yourself struggling to break the ice with your neighbors. It can be a little daunting to just knock on doors unannounced, and in today’s day of texting and “connections at a distance” could be considered outright rude. Still, neighborhoods are only as good as their neighbors. In a world where so many people recognize neighborhood cars over the faces of people who live around us, there’s a lot to be said for making an effort to connect with the people who live up and down the block. So how

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What You Need to Know about HOAs

  If you’re a first-time buyer and are confused about what a Home Owners Association is (or does), you should definitely ask the right questions before you consider buying. Basically, an HOA is an organization which is designed to protect the quality of life and property values for owners within a neighborhood or shared building. How they do so, though, can vary widely. Typically when you purchase a residence subject to an HOA, you’ll be required to pay monthly dues which often contribute to major repairs or maintenance or the upkeep of common/shared resources. But HOAs can also have a

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Don’t Move It, Sell It!

  Want to know the secret to an easy move? Move less stuff. It’s obvious, but it’s true. You can save time, money, and the anxiety of finding the right place for extra stuff if you simply take the time before your big day to declutter. While you may have stuff that’s destined for the dump, the odds are you have a lot more stuff which could find a better home with someone else. So how do you quickly and easily declutter your home before the move? Start with a garage sale. You never know who will want the odds

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Sell it faster with buyer feedback

  A second pair of eyes on an important document often helps spot mistakes or awkward phrasing we might miss on our own. Therapists help guide countless people through difficult situations with an outsider’s viewpoint. The same is true with selling a home: Buyers can see what’s holding your house back. Naturally, some buyers believe complaints will help them lower the price when negotiation time comes around, but more often than not buyer feedback offers valuable insight. As the owner, you are frequently too familiar with your home to see it (and smell it!) with a buyer’s point of view.

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What you need to know before you buy a home

  Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have. What kind of credit score do I need to have? Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all

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