Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 7/16/2018

A home inspection may make or break the property buying journey. If you attend a home inspection and find no major issues with a residence, you may choose to move forward with your house purchase. However, if a home inspection reveals significant problems, you may decide to rework a home purchase agreement or walk away from this agreement altogether.

If you plan to purchase a home, it generally is a good idea to include a home inspection in your property buying strategy. And if you know how to plan for a house inspection, you can use this evaluation to gain the insights you need to make a data-driven decision about a home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

With an expert home inspector at your side, you can gain comprehensive insights into a house's overall condition. Then, you can obtain an in-depth inspection report to help you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a residence.

It is important to conduct an extensive search for the best home inspectors in your area. Search for home inspectors who boast many years of industry experience and come highly recommended from past clients. By doing so, you can find a home inspector who will meet your expectations.

2. Craft a Home Inspection Checklist

It often helps to enter a home inspection with a checklist. If you have a checklist in hand, you should have no trouble conducting a full home evaluation.

You should include all areas of a residence's interior and exterior in your home inspection checklist. Furthermore, you should include a home's heating and cooling system, roof and other key parts of a house in your checklist.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Preparing for a home inspection may prove to be stressful. Thankfully, a real estate agent can help you get ready for a home inspection and ensure you can make the best-possible decision regarding a house purchase.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to help you at all stages of the property buying journey. In the days leading up to a home inspection, a real estate agent can respond to any of your concerns or questions so you can prepare for the evaluation. Next, on the day of the inspection, a real estate agent will attend the evaluation with you. And after the inspection is complete, you and your real estate agent can discuss the assessment results and determine how to proceed.

Ultimately, a real estate agent can help you streamline the home inspection process. He or she may even be able to put you in touch with the top house inspectors in your area, thereby increasing the likelihood that you can identify any major property issues before you finalize a home purchase.

Ready to conduct a home inspection? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter a home inspection as an informed property buyer.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 4/16/2018

Attending an open house is a great way to learn a great deal about a home in a relatively short amount of time. It allows you to see inside the home with your own eyes, enabling you to notice details that are omitted in photos, whether itís a noisy neighborhood or a smelly basement.

Aside from learning about the home, an open house is also an opportunity to help real estate agents learn about you. Being prepared and professional at an open house could set you apart from other, more casual, attendees helping you make a good impression.

Since most of us donít attend open houses on the regular, and since there probably isnít an Open House Etiquette 101 course you can take at your local college, it can be difficult to know exactly how to prepare for an open house. How should you dress? Should you take notes? Is it rude to take photos? Which questions are welcome and which should be avoided?

In this article, weíll help demystify the open house, leaving you more prepared to leave a positive impression when you go to see what could potentially be your future home.

Appearance

How should you dress when attending an open house? An open house is neither a funeral nor a trip to the beach. The realtor showing the house likely isnít a fashion critic-theyíre there to answer your questions.

In most cases, casual clothing is appropriate. Since youíll be touring the house and yard, however, you might want to avoid heels.

Questions and conversation

An open house is your time to learn all of the relevant facts about a house. Good questions to ask include upgrades to the house, how many offers it has received, and the current ownerís timeline (when they want or need to close by).

There are other topics youíll want to avoid. Donít ask too many personal questions about the sellers. It will make the real estate agent, understandably, uncomfortable. Also be sure not to reveal too many details about yourself. You donít want to mention things like your spending limit as this will remove some of your powers of negotiation.

Itís okay if the furniture and decorations in the home arenít your taste, but itís a bad idea to criticize these items as you tour the house, as you may offend the agent or owners who have decorated.

Being respectful of the owner'sí space

Even though the house is for sale, itís still someoneís home. Itís inadvisable to bring food or drinks without a secure cap into an open house.

We live in a time when everyone photographs and shares everything. But avoid the temptation to take photos when youíre at an open house. Would you want someone going through your home, taking pictures of your valuables, and then sharing them online? Instead, refer back to photos that are available online or from the agent.

When it comes to touring the house, all of the rooms should be viewable. In fact, if thereís a room you canít enter for any reason this should raise a red flag that something is wrong with the home. However, just because you should look in the closets to get an idea of space doesnít mean you should touch or go through the personal belongings of the homeowner.


Follow all of the above open house tips and youíll be sure to leave a good impression.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 3/26/2018

If youíre looking for a bargain on a home, there are ways that you can tell a seller is ready to give you a great price. 


The Vocabulary Is Right


Sellers who really want to get rid of their property will never say it directly on a listing. Yet, thereís so many different keywords that can help you to distinguish which sellers are in a rush to sell. These words can be found in the listing and include:


  • Motivated seller
  • Priced to sell
  • Needs TLC
  • Bonus offers for closing within a certain timeframe

These keywords and phrases signal that a seller truly is ďmotivated.Ē


Your Agent Gets The Inside Scoop


Sometimes, a sellerís agent will tell a buyerís agent outright that their client is looking to sell in a hurry. This can help you and your agent to work together to make a good offer and get a good deal on the home. 


A Home Has Gone On And Off The Market


If a home has been on and off the market for some time, itís a good bet that youíll be able to get a good deal on the home. If a buyer backs out, it can really put the seller in a bind. If this has happened several times over a period of time, you may have a good shot at getting a good bargain on a home. Your realtor will be able to research the property history and help you find out exactly what happened to the home in the past. This way, youíll know what youíre getting into with the property and if you have a good shot at making a deal.  


Choose The Right Season


At certain times of the year, such as winter where there are fewer listings, sellers are generally more motivated. Thereís less competition along with less buyers. Anyone who is looking during these times may be able to get a better deal on a home they love because of the low supply and demand.  


A Really Good List Price


If the listing price for a home is a real bargain to begin with, you may have a motivated seller on the other side of the listing. A seller who needs to make a quick sale will often put the home on the market at a great price right from the start. This is all in hopes that the home will fly off of the market. 


A low price can also be a bit of a red flag. The seller may have listed the home at a bargain price in hopes of a bidding war between buyers. If you donít want to get into the competition of trying to outbid another buyer, you may want to avoid homes listed at seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices.   


If youíre looking for a hidden bargain on a home, you can see that there are ways that you can find it pretty easily. Happy house hunting!





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 2/26/2018

Saving for a down payment on a house can seem like an insurmountable challenge to first-time homebuyers. You donít have the benefit of equity built from owning previous homes, and most, if not all, of your income could be tied up in other places like paying rent and bills.

If this sounds like you, donít worry--youíre not alone. The good news is that there are some other things you might try before giving up on saving for a down payment.

In todayís post, weíre going to discuss a few techniques for saving for a down payment that you might not yet have thought of, and talk about how to can start saving sooner rather than later.

1. Know your options

Many first-time buyers arenít aware of all of the different mortgage types that may be available to them. VA loans, USDA loans, and more are all available to buyers who donít have a large down payment saved up.

Thereís also the common myth that your down payment needs to be at least 20% percent of the cost of the home. However, this number is more like an ideal figure that will allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Before determining how much you need to save, make sure you understand all of your options.

2. Learn the art of budgeting

Most of us use the term ďbudgetĒ as a vague word that means the amount of money we can spend.

The true point of a budget, however, is to gain a detailed understanding of where your money goes and to develop a plan.

One good method of budgeting is to do what budget experts call, ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē This means that you know where each dollar o your paycheck will go.

There are many tools available for you to use when budgeting. You can use a free app like a spreadsheet from Google Sheets, or a service that connects you your bank account like Mint. Mint will also let you set goals (such as saving for a down payment) so you can track your progress.

3. Asking for a raise

Depending on how long youíve been at your job and your work performance, it might be time to ask your employer for a raise up front. Many employers are more than happy to reward hard work and dedication, but just donít hand out money if they arenít asked.

4. Start that side hustle

There are a lot of ways to earn extra money in a service economy. From waiting tables at night to delivering packages for Amazon, and giving lifts in your car for Uber, there are numerous ways to earn some extra cash in the evenings.

Just remember that you want this project to be something thatís enjoyable or interesting, otherwise itís easy to burn out from overwork.

5. See if you have employee assistance options

Some employers offer housing assistance programs to their employees as a work benefit. If you havenít flipped through your HR packet in a while, now might be a good time to make sure youíre taking advantage of your options.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 1/29/2018

Many factors come into play when determining whether you can afford to buy a house. Since the monthly rent for an apartment is often close to what a mortgage payment would be, you can't help but wonder if your rent money would be better spent building equity in your own home.

While this is often the case, first-time home buyers often underestimate or overlook expenses that accompany home ownership. Although a mortgage broker or bank loan officer can help you calculate the maximum mortgage you can afford, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

  • Create a detailed budget. By taking the time to figure out how your income stacks up to your monthly expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your financial situation. If you have a good credit score, a positive monthly cash flow, and enough funds to pay closing costs and a down payment, then home ownership may be a viable option. (Your credit score, which you can obtain once a year for free from the three main credit reporting companies, will have a major impact on both your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payments.)
  • Factor in other expenses: Figuring out your current budget is relatively easy, but predicting your future budget as a homeowner can be a lot more challenging. A big part of the equation will depend on the amount of property taxes and school taxes that will be tacked on to your mortgage costs. A real estate agent can provide you with those figures, as well as other information you need to calculate how affordable it would be to live in a particular house. They have access to a wide range of relevant information, such as utility expenses, water bills, and homeowner association fees (if there are any). Since property taxes sometimes cover the cost of services like garbage and yard waste collection, you may not have to factor in those items into your projected budget. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a rough estimate of home maintenance costs -- especially if they're familiar with the history of the home you're considering buying. As the process moves forward, a property inspector can provide you with more details about the condition of the home and whether any costly repairs are likely to be needed soon.
  • Home maintenance and furnishing costs: Other possible expenses to consider when estimating the cost of home ownership include yard maintenance, landscaping, HVAC service calls, electrician services, plumbing repairs, and homeowners' insurance. If you're a first-time home owner, there's also a good chance you'll need to buy some furniture to fill out those additional rooms!
  • Buying your first home definitely takes a lot of planning, budgeting, and research, but the rewards of owning your own home will more than justify the effort!