Blog: Looking to Buy a Home?

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

The ABC’s of Fire Safety

When it comes to home fire safety, a little preparation and precaution go a long way toward ensuring your family, your home, and your valuables are protected.  Consider the following important information about preventing, fighting and escaping residential fires. Fires and Fire Extinguishers Fires are classified into different types, depending on the ...

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Characteristics of a Desirable Street

Sometimes you know a desirable street when you see one. For example, it’s obvious that a home on a cul-de-sac is enticing mainly because there isn’t any through traffic. What are the other characteristics of a desirable street that may not be as obvious? Here are just a few: Sidewalks. A sidewalk ...

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What Home Inspectors See that You Can’t

When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that ...

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Retrofitting Houses and Condos for Seniors

Many seniors are reaching the stage in their lives when they are choosing to downsize their homes for lifestyle or financial reasons. Other seniors are faced with a more difficult decision. Health and/or mobility concerns may require them to either retrofit their existing home to meet their changing needs, or ...

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4 Cheap Ways to Prepare Your Home for Sale

If you want to improve how your home shows to potential buyers, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a costly remodeling or renovation. In fact, there are some simple – and relatively inexpensive – things you can do to make your property look significantly better. Let’s take a look at ...

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How to Decide if you Should Replace your Windows

One of the most prominent features of any home is the windows. If they are well maintained, they will have a positive impact on the impression potential buyers have of your property. Of course, the opposite occurs when your windows look old and worn. So, does that mean you should replace ...

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How to Deal with a Low-Ball Offer

If you take care to price your home correctly – that is, at a price that is in line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently – then you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price. That doesn’t mean you won’t ...

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Avoiding Waste when Watering Your Lawn

The following tips will help you avoid waste when watering your lawn: Use a low-angle, pulsating sprinkler. Water sprayed high into the air produces a mist that loses much of its moisture through evaporation.Water the lawn, not the sidewalk or driveway.Lawns need about an inch of water per week. To determine ...

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Consumer Protection vs. Consumer Value

It has become standard for retailers to offer low cost supplementary “insurance protection plans” on appliances and electronics. These plans may seem like a good idea, but before you buy one, be sure the plan actually offers real added value. Often, these plans overlap with other protection programs you already ...

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Recognizing Potential Major Expenses in a New Home

When you see a new home you like on the market, it’s easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious recreation room that has plenty of space for entertaining. You just need to make sure that in all your excitement ...

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