RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/9/2018

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, we’re going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyer’s experience.

If you’re interested in learning the steps you’ll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. You’ll want to make sure the area you’re moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but it’s an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house you’re looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount you’ll be approved for. You’ll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you don’t open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you can’t get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now it’s time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesn’t mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/27/2017

When you’re buying a new home, one of the first things that you’ll examine closely in the home search are the kitchens. The kitchen is often the center of most homes. It is also one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. People tend to gather in the kitchen. This makes the kitchen a heavily weighted factor in the home buying process. Whether you’re buying your first home or you’re a seasoned home-buyer, the kitchen is an important room to consider because of how much you’ll be using it. Think of the following items with follow up questions when you’re searching for a home with a great kitchen. Some items have less impact on your buying decision like the color of appliances. However, you don’t want to be stuck with a refrigerator taht you can’t stand to look at.

Cabinets

Are they in good condition?

Are they the color and material you’d like?

Can they be restored?

Countertops

Are they made of high quality material?

Flooring

Note the color and material of the floor

Note the condition of teh floor

Stove

How old is the stove?

Does it function well?

Refrigerator

How old the refrigerator?

Does it work well?

What color is it?

Microwave

How old is it?

What color is it?

What is the size and wattage of the microwave?

Dishwasher

What is the color and make of the dishwasher?

Does it function well?

How old is the dishwasher?

Garbage Disposal

Do you want a garbage disposal?

Does the home have one?

How old is the unit?

Does it function well?

All of these things are great areas of concern to consider in a home search when looking at the kitchen. You should note any problems with any of these areas. Finding out how much needs to be fixed or replaced as well as the cost of these repairs could be a deciding factor in your home selection. Keep in mind some things are easier and less expensive to replace and repair than others. Countertops in particular can be really expensive to replace. Other items like cabinets are easy to touch up and refinish. Material quality often matters as well. Remember that some more expensive materials stand the test of time whereas cheaper alternatives may need to be replaced often. Sellers are often required to disclose functionality issues with any appliances in the home before the closing papers are signed as well.

It’s important to conduct your own assessment of the kitchen in addition to home inspections and seller’s reports. This way you have seen the issues that you may have in front of you with your own eyes. There’s no better assessment of a home’s condition than your own! Hopefully, these tips will help you to find a home with a kitchen that is right for you!





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/26/2016

Many first time home buyers go into the market looking for the home of their dreams. They picture a house filled with their favorite furniture, illuminated by plenty of natural lighting, and highlighted by bright and cheery wall colors. While it's good to have aspirations for your new home, it's also important to remember that the house you're buying is essentially a box. Sure, you'll put plenty of nice things in that box, but ultimately you want to make sure it's a sturdy box that's in good shape before thinking about the contents. When shopping for a new home, here are some things you shouldn't let influence your decision.

Walls and carpets

It can be off-putting when you go and view a home and the walls are covered in antiquated wallpaper or painted a color you can't stomach. It can also be hard to ignore, since the walls make up such a large, visible portion of the house. Instead, try to envision the room with the walls painted the colors you would use. If a home has a carpet that looks straight out of the 70s it can definitely be a distraction and give you trepidations about the house. However, just like walls, this is a relatively simple fix if you have the budget for it. Imagine how the room would look with hardwood floors, tile, or a carpet that's more to your liking.

An unkempt yard

The first thing you see when arriving at a house is the yard and driveway. Maybe the grass hasn't been mown in a while, the mulch is looking faded and there are weeds growing up along the walkway. These are all aesthetic problems that can be easily and, if planned correctly, inexpensively fixed. A good rule is to determine if the parts of the yard you dislike can be cleaned up in a few afternoons or if they would require a lot of time and money.

It feels like someone else's home

Viewing a home can be awkward. If the seller still lives in the home you might feel like you're intruding. In some cases, they could even be at home while you're viewing the house. As you walk through the home, be sure to remind yourself that if you lived here the picture frames would have your family photos in them instead. Similarly, if the seller has (to put it nicely) a "different" taste in decoration it can seem distracting and off putting. Fortunately, they'll have to take all their decorations with them when they move--even that wall mounted deer head in the living room.

Decide based on these factors instead

Now that we've talked about the things to ignore, here are the details you should look for when shopping for a new home.
  • Size. The size of the home, the rooms, the yard, and the driveway will all be a huge factor in your decision.
  • Architecture. Take note of how the home was built and if there are certain architectural aspects that you love or hate.
  • Windows and lighting. Natural lighting is an oft overlooked feature that really enhances the atmosphere of a home.
  • Plumbing and electrical. Make sure you're happy with the condition of the home's HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems because these will be time consuming and expensive upgrades.
  • Kitchen and bathroom features. Look for a home that has the kitchen and bathroom design elements you love, the space you need, and the features you desire (appliances, shower type, sink type, etc.)




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