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.

Not-So-Obvious Home Staging Tips

When it comes to “staging” your home for sale – which basically means ensuring it looks clean and uncluttered – you probably already know the basics: clean the counters, vacuum the floors, mow the lawn, etc.But there are also some less obvious home staging tips that can help to sell ...

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Home Shopping and the Four-Legged Stool

What kind of stool is most likely to keep you from toppling over when you sit on it? Of course, two-legged stools won’t even stand on their own. Three-legged stools are okay, but still unstable. Four-legged stools are rock solid.What does this have to do with shopping for a new ...

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Moisture on Windows

You’re standing by your window admiring the view. Then you notice it. Moisture has built up around the edges of the glass. Should you worry?It all depends on the reason for the build up. Assuming you have traditional double-pane glass in your windows, there are a few things to look for ...

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Should You Worry About Market Fluctuations?

You turn on the television and watch a news story about housing prices going down. Then you read an article about the housing market on the upswing again. It’s a little like being on a roller-coaster ride! Unfortunately, the ride isn’t much fun if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home. ...

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Finding the Perfect “Kid-Friendly” Neighborhood

Fast forward a few years and imagine that your kids have grown up. They’ve come back to the “old neighborhood” to reminisce. What will they remember? The playground where they hung out with their friends? The quiet cul-de-sac where they learned to ride their bikes? The park where they picnicked ...

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Will Your Furniture Fit?

When shopping for a new house or condo, most buyers consider factors such as neighborhood, proximity to schools, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the kitchen, and more.These are, of course, all important considerations. But, there’s one question that few buyers ask until it’s too late: “Will our furniture ...

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Are You Ready to Buy Up?

No matter how much you love your current home, you may still be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighborhood. Is that day today or a few years down the road? Here’s a quick way to make that assessment. First, make a list of ...

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Fresh Air Sells

Household smells in our own homes can be a problem because we get accustomed to them. However, it takes just a few seconds in a stranger’s home, to know if a smoker lives there. The smell is in the air! So, when you put your home on the market, think about ...

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Inspect Your Walls Before You Sell

Say you’re trying to sell a used car. Imagine that it’s a desirable make and model, the mileage is low, and, overall, it’s in great condition…except, that is, for the body. Unfortunately, there are a few areas where the paint is scratched, and there are a couple of dents and rust ...

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Three Lists to Make When Selling Your Home

When you put your property up for sale, you want to make sure that potential buyers get all the information they need on the features of your home and its surrounding area. If, for example, buyers don’t realize there is a great school just a couple of blocks away, they ...

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