Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 11/30/2020

Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

A home inspection is a service that’s usually paid for by the buyer in a real estate transaction, and you have the option to forgo this when you’re purchasing a house. In almost every situation, however, real estate agents recommend getting a  home inspection. Here’s why an inspection is so important.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is essentially an audit of a home’s structure and vital systems, and the audit is performed by a home inspector. Home inspectors are independent parties, which allows them to provide objective assessments, and they specialize in this particular service. Home inspectors have a broad knowledge about foundations, structural integrity, HVAC systems, plumbing systems and much more.

A basic home inspection generally includes an assessment of the house’s structure and essential systems. Some inspections will also check for mold, pests, lead paint and other potential issues.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The cost of a home inspection is usually based on the size of a home and what exactly an inspector is looking for. An inspection that checks for mold and pests will typically cost more than only a basic inspection that looks at structural integrity and essential systems. Even among basic inspections, there are sometimes varying levels that cover different systems at different costs.

Despite the variance in price, however, home inspections tend to be quite affordable. Most inspections cost a few hundred dollars for a fairly common single-family house.

What Do You Do With Results from a Home Inspection?

After a home inspection is complete, the inspector will furnish a report that details their findings. Few homes are absolutely perfect, and there are normally at least a few issues noted on an inspection report. Depending on what the real estate market is like and what’s noted on a report, there are a few ways you might use this information.

First, the report at least tells you what issues the house has so that you can make sure you want to purchase the property. Second, you can also use the report to prioritize projects once you own the building. Finally, sometimes items in a report can be used to negotiate the sale price lower.




Categories: Buying  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 11/23/2020

If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.

As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.

1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.

To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.

Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.

2. Establish a Budget

Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.

A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.

Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 11/16/2020

Photo by Jonathan Borba from Pexels

Many home buyers have lots of questions as they go through the buying process, especially first-time buyers. Whether you’re looking for a $50,000 house or a multi-million dollar luxury home, the questions are often the same.

How Much House Can I Afford?

Lenders use several factors in determining whether to loan you money, including your credit score, loan-to-value and debt-to-income. If you are self-employed, you could make $400,000 per year and still not afford a $150,000 home. Lenders look at your income, and if you are self-employed like many luxury home buyers, you use tax deductions and expenses to your benefit. However, doing that lowers your adjusted net income. If your adjusted net income plus depreciation doesn’t meet the debt-to-income bar for the lender, you won’t qualify for the loan. People in this situation need to find a lender who will lend based on bank statements instead of tax returns.

How Convenient Is This Location?

Luxury home buyers often have location concerns. You travel more and have more people — friends and relatives — visit. That means you need a home location that is convenient for travel. If travel convenience is a concern, ask your real estate agent about the distance to the airport, the ability to rent limos, and other travel concerns.

How Much Down Payment Do I Need?

Most loans require 20 percent down if you do not want to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, if you are buying a multi-million dollar luxury home, that might be difficult if you don’t have liquid assets. Before you start looking, get a pre-approval from a jumbo lender, including the amount the lender requires with and without PMI. You can adjust the amount you are willing to spend or take the time to liquidate assets to get the down payment if you have your heart set on a home that requires a high down payment.

What Does My Credit Score Need to Be?

Conventional loans have a cap, which changes depending on your location and whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increases that cap. If your mortgage is going to be higher than that cap, you will need to take out a jumbo loan unless you put enough down so that you are financing an amount below the cap. When you take out a jumbo loan, you are at a higher risk to the lender, so you have to jump through more hoops, including having a higher credit score.

If you are applying for a conventional loan, especially a loan backed by the VA, Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac, your credit score could be as low as 500. However, with a jumbo loan, your score must be at least 680. Some jumbo lenders require scores as high as 720.




Categories: Buyers  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 8/17/2020

A seamless home search may be a dream come true for property buyers. Yet for those who want to accelerate the homebuying journey, problems sometimes may arise that make it tough to streamline a home search. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to speed up a home search and find your dream house without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you expedite the homebuying journey.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations

You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea what you want to find in a dream home. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, however, you could simplify your house search.

Think about what you want in your dream house, as well as where you want to reside. Then, you can search for houses that have the features you want and are located in your preferred cities and towns.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage at your disposal, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. As a result, you can search for homes that fall in line with your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages and help you find the right mortgage based on your individual needs.

Of course, as you search for the right mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, all of whom are happy to assist you in any way possible.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to support a homebuyer. He or she understands the ins and outs of buying a home, and as such, will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. He or she next will craft a homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. A real estate agent then will help you conduct an in-depth house search. And once you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

A real estate agent also works diligently to help you achieve the best-possible results at each stage of the property buying journey. He or she is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and ensure you can make informed decisions throughout your quest for your dream house.

Want to expedite your home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a home that suits you perfectly.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 7/6/2020

Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city? If so, you're sure to enjoy a city home.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a home in a big city, including:

1. You can enjoy quick, easy access to public transportation.

Let's face it – owning a car sometimes can be problematic, and the costs associated with fuel, insurance and maintenance can add up quickly. However, you may be able to cut out some of these expenses if you live in the city.

Many cities feature public transportation systems that make it simple to travel from one location to the next. That way, you can avoid the hassles commonly associated with car ownership.

2. You can check out a broad assortment of attractions and entertainment.

The lights are always brightest in the city. Here, you can visit museums, historic landmarks and other attractions any time you choose.

For those who live in the city, you should have no trouble accessing a massive assortment of attractions and entertainment. From live theater performances to sports events, you can enjoy fun experiences in the city year-round.

3. You can visit a wide range of high-quality restaurants.

Foodies rejoice! Cities are home to some of the world's best restaurants, guaranteeing you can sample gourmet cuisine that you may struggle to find elsewhere.

Whether you appreciate traditional pub fare or elegant French dishes, you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for at a city restaurant. Plus, many city restaurants offer take-out menus, ensuring you can get first-rate cuisine delivered to your home.

How can you obtain a home in the city?

You don't need to be a millionaire to purchase a city home. In fact, here are three tips to ensure you can acquire an outstanding city house at a price that meets your budget:

1. Browse the housing market closely.

New homes reach the real estate market every day. As a homebuyer, you'll want to explore the housing market closely to find a residence that you can enjoy both now and in the future.

Examine the prices of recently sold homes in the city. Also, be sure to check out a variety of residences in-person. By doing so, you can understand what you can afford and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with multiple banks and credit unions before you begin your search for a city house. This will enable you to get pre-approved for a mortgage and kick off your home search with a homebuying budget in hand.

3. Work with a real estate agent.

Hire a real estate agent who understands a city's real estate market. This real estate professional will offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. That way, you can accelerate the homebuying process and avoid the risk of spending too much on a city home.

Use the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can move one step closer to securing your dream home in the city of your choice.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  




Ann Marie Martin