You're ready to start the process of searching for your next home, but you're a little apprehensive about all the steps associated with the process. One stage that our real estate agents suggest you learn about is the closing process.
The closing process is the last major stage of buying a home before you're officially a homeowner. Here's what you should know.
Record home prices, rising interest rates, and low inventory have created an incredibly tough environment for buyers. It's still entirely possible to land a property despite the current market conditions. Buying a home in a hot seller's market just requires some extra work, time, and a lot of patience.
Our real estate agents have been working closely with buyers to navigate the complexities of this unprecedented market. Here are 7 tips we frequently share with our clients:
Whether it's your first time buying or selling a house or it's your fifth, you'll likely have lots of questions about the process. We understand that, which is why we're answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the home-buying and home-selling process. Read on to get the answers you seek!
Buying a Home
Should I work with an agent?
Yes! When searching for a home, it's important to know what you want. The right agent will help you determine must-haves and deal-breakers, as well as educate you on the communities you're interested in. Your agent will also help you navigate the complexities of the home-buying process. They're the expert, after all!
Should I go to the bank before starting my house search?
Getting pre-approved before starting your house search can be very helpful. By measuring factors like income, credit, and assets, a lender can determine what type of loan best suits your needs and how much home you can afford. Not only will you know your spending budget, it can also give you an upper hand as a buyer because it shows sellers you're serious about making a purchase.
How many houses should I tour?
As many as it takes until you find the perfect home for you. Everyone's needs, wants, and deal-breakers will be different, and you want to avoid settling for a house you'll dislike after a few months. Even if it takes time, it's worth the extra effort.
Do I need money for a big down payment?
Not necessarily. Today, more loan options and homebuying programs exist, giving buyers a larger variety of approaches to buying a house. While some people may still want to complete a large down payment, it is absolutely not vital to purchase a home. In fact, the average first-time buyer only puts 6% down, and many loans and programs available to first-time buyers require even less than that.
How long will closing last?
After negotiations have settled and your offer is accepted, the loan process and title work begin. Inspections and other walkthroughs will be completed as well. Most closings last 30 to 45 days.
Selling a Home
Should I sell on my own or with an agent?
You've probably heard from one person or another that going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route is optimal as it will save you money that you would otherwise spend on commission fees. However, the benefits of listing, marketing, and exposing your home to potential buyers an agent provides are often worth the commission fee.
What's more, you may end up spending less money by selling with an agent. A typical home sale process that requires lots of time and effort likely won't net you much savings at all if you go it alone.
When should I put my home on the market?
This is the first of many steps where an agent's expertise will help you make a decision. When there are fewer available homes to purchase to meet buyers' demands, you get a seller's market. Each home for sale becomes a hot commodity in this sort of market.
There's no truly bad time to sell, necessarily. Even in a buyer's market, your home will still draw attention so long as it's promoted properly.
Should I make any changes to my home before selling?
Definitely! Do a deep clean, make necessary repairs and replacements, organize cabinets and closets, declutter and depersonalize, and spruce up your home's curb appeal. Be careful about spending too much money on major repairs and renovations, however; you may not make back what you spent in the sale.
How should I price my home?
Determining your home's value can be tricky; setting an accurate sale price can be even tougher. Your agent will help you assess your home's value by analyzing other similar homes in the area that have sold. A home inspection will also help to paint the picture of your home's value.
Setting a sale price is a delicate art. Price it too high and you risk pushing buyers away. Price it too low and you might raise suspicions in buyers' minds. Again, your agent will help you find the sweet spot and price your home favorably.
Still have questions about the home-buying or selling process? Contact one of our expert agents to have your questions answered.
If you're like 60% of people, you probably dread the idea of moving. And we get it! Packing, loading, unpacking – it can all be a bit of a drag. So you've probably considered simply reimagining the space you're in as an alternative to moving. But that has its own drawbacks, like trying to live around the messiness and noises of home improvement.
At the core of either of these decisions lies the true issue: you're not happy with at least some part of your home. Making the choice to renovate or move to a new home entirely isn't easy, but we're hoping the following guide can help you make an informed decision one way or the other.
Consider the Costs
Try to think beyond the profit, because believe it or not, selling your home can be costly. Everything from touch-ups and minor repairs to staging and various closing costs can rack up a high price. That's before you even consider paying for your new home!
Then again, depending on the scope of your renovations, you could be looking at a hefty price tag as well. Renovations also typically require immediate out-of-pocket costs, and as projects go on, you could see additional costs enter the picture.
Do You Like Your Location?
Do you love your neighborhood? Are your kids in a great school district? Are you an active fixture in your community? Sometimes the one thing you fall out of love with about where you live is…where you live.
If you've found you adore your community but your home isn't meeting your needs anymore, perhaps renovating is the route for you. Conversely, if you'd rather discover a new neighborhood, you might choose to start fresh with a move.
It's generally accepted that what you pay for in renovations, you probably won't get back when you sell. There are exceptions to this, of course, but for most folks it holds true.
So if you plan to be in your home for another 10 years, remodeling is a good idea. You'll get to enjoy the results of all your hard work and money spent. If you don't see yourself staying put for long, however, it likely won't be cost-effective to sink money into renovations.
Research the Market
For the past year and more, the market has been particularly ripe for sellers. And while that might influence your decision to sell and move into a new home, keep in mind that you'll still need to buy a new home. The market has been significantly more challenging for buyers.
The market is always fluid, however, so whenever you find yourself pondering renovations versus selling, do yourself a favor and check in on your local market.
What you choose will ultimately come down to your unique situation. If you're looking for an agent's expert opinion on the matter, check in with one of Watson's knowledgeable real estate pros!
Your first stab at buying a home involves a lot of emotions. Excitement, happiness, anxiety, fear, joy, sadness; you're sure to feel at least some combination of these and more during your first homebuying experience.
Real estate agents know this, and they're often prepared for it. "First-time homebuyers can be scared because they've never experienced this situation before," Michael Blazek, Managing Broker of Watson's Atlantic Beach office, says. "But working with them is fun because they're usually very excited."
We understand just how daunting buying your first home can be. That's why we got some of our brokers to come up with their own expert advice for first-time homebuyers.
For most of us, a life lived mostly inside the walls of our home became the norm for at least a year. Lots of things changed; grocery store trips became deliveries, intense hand-washing sessions occurred multiple times a day, and empty guest rooms became home offices.
It makes sense then that homebuyers' preferred features have shifted in response to the changes they've experienced. Point2 Homes examined 43 million words from more than 640,000 listings across the United States, then compared their findings to a study of the same nature in 2019.
Examining the most popular home descriptions words, phrases, and features reveals a lot about how buyers' tastes have changed.
Thinking about buying a new home? Great! Your first step should be reviewing your credit report. Your credit report is an important collection of data upon which a mortgage company will base your approval, interest rate, and loan terms.
Naturally, you'll want to ensure your credit is in good standing – the better your credit, the better your chances of receiving favorable interest rates and higher loan amounts. Before we talk improving your credit score, let's make sure you know the basics of pulling your credit report.
After more than a year of low housing inventory, skyrocketing prices, and intense bidding wars, the real estate market appears to be tempering a bit. While inventory is still sparse (though improving) and prices continue to appreciate (though at a less rapid pace), there's plenty of reason for optimism if you're looking to buy. Here are a just a few reasons why it's a good time to buy a house.
Do you wish you had a place you can go to relax and have a good time? A place all your own, by a beautiful beach, where you can get away for a few weeks or months each year and swim, sail, surf, and bask in the Florida sunshine.
Our real estate agents have helped turn that dream into a reality for many families.
But before you buy that vacation home you've been dreaming about, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.