Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
Ready to buy a condo? With help from an expert real estate agent, you can make your condo ownership dreams come true.
An expert real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can purchase a top-notch condo at an unbeatable price. In addition, this real estate professional will make it easy to discover a superior condo without delay.
Ultimately, an expert real estate agent can make a world of difference during a condo search. But it is important to note that there are many factors to consider as you evaluate a real estate agentl.
Key factors that a condo buyer should consider when he or she assesses a real estate agent include:
1. Industry Experience
How many years has a real estate agent worked with condo buyers? Has a real estate agent been successful in his or her efforts to help condo buyers? And how will this housing market professional handle difficult negotiations with a condo seller? These are some of the questions to consider as you examine a real estate agent's industry experience.
When it comes to assessing a real estate agent, industry experience is key. A real estate professional who understands the ins and outs of buying a condo should have no trouble helping you purchase a superb property that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Communication Skills
How a real estate agent communicates with his or her clients says a lot about this professional.
If a real estate agent strives to stay in touch with clients via text, phone and email, this housing market professional likely will be able to keep a condo buyer informed at each stage of the property buying cycle.
On the other hand, a real estate agent who fails to prioritize effective communication may struggle to help a condo buyer. This housing market professional may be unavailable if a condo buyer has concerns or questions. As a result, a condo buyer is unlikely to get the support that he or she needs to make an informed property buying decision.
Meeting directly with a real estate agent can give you a better idea about his or her communication skills. If you feel comfortable with a real estate agent after a face-to-face discussion, you may want to consider moving forward with this housing market professional.
3. Client Referrals
What are previous condo buyers saying about a real estate agent? Request client referrals from a real estate agent, and you can find out how he or she has supported condo buyers in the past.
Client referrals enable you to understand what it's like to work with a real estate agent and can provide you with insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Moreover, client referrals can help you accelerate the process of choosing the right real estate agent to guide you along the condo buying journey.
For condo buyers, there is no need to worry as you prepare to enter the housing market. Instead, use these tips, and you can find a first-rate real estate agent who will ensure you can purchase your dream condo.
When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house you’re looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.
Look For Amenities That Increase Value
Does the neighborhood you’re looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood.
You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as what’s termed “up and coming.” The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home you’re buying in a great area but considered a “fixer upper”? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, it’s not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.
Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.
Know That Some Features Decrease Value
Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldn’t be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.
When you purchase real estate, you must put down a good faith deposit. Several factors determine how much you will need to put down, but it could be as little as $100. In order to have a valid contract, the contract must have “consideration,” or something of value exchanged for the contract. The good faith money also shows a seller that you are serious about purchasing the property.
Who Holds the Good Faith Money?
You usually give the good faith money to your real estate agent. The agent puts the money into an escrow account. If you are buying a newly built home, you might give the good faith money to the builder. However, if you are working with a real estate agent to buy a newly built home, in most cases, it’s better to give the deposit to the real estate agent.
Is Good Faith Money Refundable?
In most cases, your good faith money is not refundable. This ensures that you are serious about buying the property and not just “tire kicking.” However, a real estate purchase contract has several exceptions. In addition to the exceptions that might be in the contract, you can add your own as long as the seller agrees. The most common exceptions are your ability to get financing and that the seller did not misrepresent the condition of the home. As long as you can meet an exception, your money is refundable.
How Much Is a Good Faith Deposit?
Most sellers like to see at least $1,000 down. However, a seller might require a percentage of the selling price. Whichever amount the seller wants, it must be stated in the purchase agreement. If you want to change the amount of the good faith money, the seller has to agree to it or you won’t have a contract.
What Happens to My Good Faith Deposit?
Once you close, the real estate agent forwards the money to the seller as part of your down payment. The amount is shown on your closing documents and is subtracted from the final agreed-upon selling price of the home. For example, you buy a house that is $250,000 and you put down $5,000 as good faith money. Your lender requires 20 percent down, so you give the lender $50,000 at closing. Your documents will show that you paid a total of $55,000, so your loan will be $195,000 plus closing costs.
The closing costs could be subtracted from your down payment, the good faith deposit or added back into the loan, depending on what you and your lender agree to. Regardless, the amount of your down payment is $55,000, even if some of it is used for closing costs.
If you have any questions about how your real estate agent handles your good faith deposit, be sure to ask. You should always ask about exceptions to ensure you can get your money back if the loan does not go through or if the house was misrepresented by the seller and/or their agent.
Searching for a house should be a fun, exciting experience. It represents an opportunity to discover a residence that you can transform into your very own home. As such, conducting an effective home search may require both hard work and patience to ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you search for your ideal house, and these factors include:
A home's location can have far-flung effects on a homeowner's day-to-day activities, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For example, a city home may provide quick, easy access to a wide range of attractions. On the other hand, this home may be located near major highways, which could create traffic problems for those who need to commute to school or work regularly.
As you search for your dream house, consider where you want to live both now and in the future. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you may want to pursue houses in big cities. Or, if you prefer the serenity of small town living, you can search for a top-notch home in the suburbs.
2. Home Condition
It is paramount to assess a house's condition. Otherwise, you risk making an offer on a home that may have many "hidden" problems that probably will need to be corrected in the foreseeable future.
A home requires maintenance over time, and an older house may be more susceptible than others to costly, time-intensive structural problems. Thus, depending on a home's age, you may need to account for many potential upgrades sooner rather than later.
It also may be worthwhile to find out which home upgrades that a home seller has already completed. If a seller recently replaced a house's roof or heating and cooling system or performed other major home upgrades, you may be able to reap the benefits of these house updates for years to come.
3. A Home's Price
The initial asking price of a home rarely, if ever, is set in stone. Therefore, if you find a house that is priced above your budget, you may be able to negotiate the house's price with the seller.
If you find a house that you want to buy, it helps to submit a competitive offer right away. This offer should account for the age and condition of a house, as well as the current housing market's conditions. And if the offer meets a seller's expectations, he or she should have no trouble accepting the proposal.
Lastly, if you need help searching for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new houses that become available, provide plenty of homebuying tips and suggestions and help you submit an offer on your dream house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying questions, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.
As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.
The Candles Are Burning Bright
You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.
Be Your Own Inspector
As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.
The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For
Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.
Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.