With any great home comes a little bit of homework. Think of me as the smart kids in class. You have questions about buying a home? I’ll share my answers with you. No one knows the people and the communities we serve better than me. It’s my job to know the in’s and out’s of the area real estate, it’s communities and the home-buying or home-selling process.
The Perfect Home
When I help prospective buyers locate a new home we listen carefully to their goals. What are their criteria for selecting a neighborhood, what style of house do they prefer, what price range and floor plan meet their needs? Will any special considerations go into making the homebuying decision? When I have a good picture of what the buyer wants, I will go to work to find the best property on the market that will accommodate those needs.
I succeed when I can make the buyers’ goals their goals. Finding the perfect home is a collaborative effort. The buyers communicate what they want, why they want it, and where compromise might be possible, and the agent listens carefully and selects the homes that come as close as possible to meeting the needs expressed. When there is trust and communication between the buyers and the real estate agent, miracles can happen! Creating these miracles for buyers and sellers is “Job #1” for me.
The Perfect House
Home buyers must often deal with deferred maintenance or repairs. For example, you may have found a terrific house and like many competent home buyers, you included a structural inspection contingency in your purchase agreement. What happens when you find out that your “perfect” house needs some work? Do you ask the sellers to pay for the repairs? Before you answer “yes”, there are some important considerations.
Some contracts require that all of the home’s systems, such as plumbing, heating, electrical and central air conditioning, be in working order. In this case, the sellers may be obligated to repair any problems with these systems. Leaky roofs, damp basements, or other structural problems may not be covered, however. If you ask the sellers to make these types of repairs, you may void the contract by doing so. The sellers might prefer to negotiate the repairs to keep from losing the sale. If there are other buyers waiting in the wings with back-up contracts, you run the risk of losing the home.
The Real Bottom Line
An important part of buying a house is sitting down with your real estate agent or a mortgage lender to get a clear idea of how much you can afford. They will add up all of your monthly expenses, the mortgage payment, insurance, real estate taxes, homeowners or condo association fees–and the grand total can throw you into shock!
The important thing to remember is that the grand total isn’t really the bottom line. When you add your tax savings to the equation, you may be pleasantly surprised. During the early years of your loan, almost all of the mortgage can be deducted from your state and federal income tax. The same is true of your real estate taxes. If you use part of your house as a home office, you may be able to qualify for additional tax savings. In some areas, homes with ground floor apartments are popular for offsetting part of the mortgage and offering even more tax savings.
When you make calculations about the monthly costs that include the tax savings, you may find that owning your own home is less expensive than renting a house or apartment of comparable size.
The Rewards of Home Ownership
People buy a home for a lot of different reasons. They may want to put down roots in a community and create a sense of stability in their lives. Then there are the financial considerations and the “forced” savings that builds up in the form of equity. In addition, the monthly cost of owning a house is usually much more stable and predictable than renting.
If you are considering the possibility of purchasing a home, contact a knowledgeable real estate agent in your community. An important part of our job is to educate prospective buyers about the potential benefits and responsibilities of renting versus owning a home. We can help you determine your purchasing power and show you the best homes in your price range. We can also give you a side-by-side comparison of the costs of owning a home compared with what you pay for rent. When you fix up your home to suit your needs and taste, you benefit from the added value of the improvements instead of the landlord!
Scroll down to see my best home buying tips, insight and wisdom on buying a home. I’m here to help you. Contact me today to see how I can help you.