How do I know what I can afford in a house?
Your income and whatever debt you may have will be a determining factor of the amount that you can afford to spend on a house. Usually prospective home buyers will look at homes that do not exceed 2 ½ times their annual income. If an individual earns $50,000/year then their home purchase typically does not exceed $150,000. This can change based on the area and market in which you are seeking home ownership. If there are no homes available in your area within your range, you may need to spend more than expected without allowing your monthly mortgage payment to surpass 29% of your monthly gross income. Any other debt you may have (auto, credit cards, etc.) in addition to your monthly mortgage payment should not surpass 40% of your monthly gross income depending on the kind of mortgage loan you are applying for. Online mortgage calculators are very helpful in helping you determine what you can afford.
In what area should I purchase a house?
There are many factors to consider when looking for an area to purchase a home. Most people choose areas based on their lifestyle and/or life stage. Families may search for an area with good schools and communities that are abundant with children, while others may search for an area in which they want to retire. Some may be looking for an area close to the workplace allowing for a short commute. Whatever your choice, a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make, therefore you want to be sure to choose wisely and explore all of your options. Our website has an abundance of information on Tampa Bay Florida real estate, Clearwater real estate and real estate in the towns surrounding these larger cities. Tampa Florida real estate and Clearwater real estate have some of the most beautiful homes in the nation with many varieties of property to choose from. Feel free to research my website. If you have any questions please email me or call. I will be happy to help you in the decision making process.
Why should I use a real estate agent to purchase a home?
Using an agent can help you in many ways. First, the seller or builder pays for the services provided by the agent in the purchase of your new home, making these services free to the home buyer. Second, an agent knows everything involved with the purchase of a resale or the building process of a new home. Agents provide representation to the home buyer and assist them in understanding the home buying process, paperwork and can often help in making your purchase a smoother transaction. Third, with an agent, finding the right home in the right location is made simple. I can do the research for you and show you homes in your area of interest that meet the criteria you specify. Please email me or call so we can discuss how I can help you with your home search. I am very knowledgeable on the Tampa Bay area and am the most qualified agent to assist you with your search and the buying process.
Is a private home inspection worth the money?
It absolutely is! For most people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make and protecting that investment by spending a few hundred dollars is well worth it. The typical home inspection ranges anywhere between two hundred and five hundred dollars depending on the size of the home. When you move into a new home you want to begin enjoying it, not begin repairing it. The private home inspector will provide you with a report of any repairs that need to be taken care of, suggestions on how to maintain your home, and most importantly, will provide you with peace of mind. Some sellers will allow you to make the sale of the home contingent upon completion of a satisfactory home inspection. In this case, the seller will either make the proper repairs or compensate you for the repairs that need to be made. If the outcome is not up to your liking, you can choose to cancel the contract. Please be aware that the purpose of a home inspection is to point out repairs that can affect the safety and resale value of your home, not cosmetic blemishes. Some cosmetic fixes, for example, applying a coat of new paint, may be up to the new owner. You will need to determine what cosmetic improvements may need to be done after closing in order to make the appearance of the home to your personal liking and taste.
A private home inspection is not only limited to the purchase of a resale, but is also very important during the building of a new home. You cannot just assume that a new home will be built perfectly without any errors. In this situation the inspection should be conducted during different stages of the building process with the last one being before the final walkthrough. This will allow the inspector to notice any defects or errors made in the building of your new home that would normally be difficult to see once the home is completed. Providing this report to your builder will aid them in making the appropriate repairs and may also help to keep your closing date on target and reduce the likelihood of finding any surprises during the end that may cause delay.
Be sure to choose a home inspector wisely. Choosing a cheaper home inspector over a more experienced home inspector may not always be the better choice. Be sure to ask questions and find out how many years they have been in the business. Talk to your family and friends to see if they can recommend one to you. Your real estate agent can also help you in choosing a home inspector.
Is a home warranty worth it and what does it cover?
Different people will always give different responses regarding the issue of home warranties. Those that say it is a waste of money may never have had anything go wrong, therefore finding no use for it. However, find an individual who has saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars thanks to their home warranty, they will give you a different opinion.
Basically a home warranty covers the repair or replacement of certain devices in your home. They will typically be covered for a period of one year from the closing date. Certain major and minor mechanisms that are usually covered are:
+ Central Air and Heating System
+ Water Heater
+ Washer and Dryer
+ Garbage Disposal
+ Garage Door Opener
+ Water Softener
+ Other minor electrical devices
The decision on whether or not to purchase a home warranty lies in the age of the home you are purchasing. The typical home warranty ranges in price from three hundred up to six hundred dollars, depending on the amount of coverage, age of the home and size of the home being purchased. If the house is less than five years old, you may not find it necessary to purchase a home warranty, since most of the appliances and other devices usually remain in good working order within this time period; however if the house is anywhere from five to fifteen years old or older, a home warranty may be something you want to consider. If anything, no matter what age the house is, a home warranty will provide you with peace of mind. Sometimes choosing to pay a warranty deductible for repairs outweighs having to pay a larger lump sum in repairs or replacements, some of which could cost you thousands of dollars.
What are some tips to make my house show nicely and work properly when preparing to sell?
A buyer prefers a home that is in move-in condition and will pay top dollar for a home in such condition. It is important to be sure your home is in superior condition before listing it to sell. A good idea is to have a property inspection done on your home. This also looks good to potential buyers and helps them to feel more at ease about making a decision to purchase your home. An inspector will be able to recommend areas that need attention. Making these repairs prior to selling will help to reduce the risk of buyers trying to renegotiate the price due to repairs or problems that may arise from a private inspection conducted prior to closing.
Having your property in top condition will attract more agents to your home with potential buyers, providing you with an excellent chance to sell your home faster, and at top dollar.
Here are some suggestions to make your house show well and be ready to sell…
Paint is very important in making a home show well. Certain colors, although they may go with your personal décor, may not be desirable to prospective buyers. Neutral colors usually show better on walls rather than loud or bright colors. Scuffed walls, faded or pealing paint, both inside and out, should be repaired. Check doors and garage doors closely for cracked or peeling paint as well.
The front entryway is the first place where a prospective buyer will step foot. This area should be well maintained from the walkway to the doorbell. Be sure the pathway is clean. Nice landscaping is always a plus. Keep the area free of weeds or dead plants and flowers. Be sure the doorbell is clean, not worn, and in working order. The mailbox should also be clean and not worn or rusted.
Proper landscaping always adds to the value of a home. Keeping the grass fertilized and mowed will ensure a bright green, weed-free, well manicured lawn, also providing for a great first impression. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed and any dead plants or flowers removed or replaced. Weeds should also be pulled and kept under control.
Clean up any stains that may be unsightly on the driveway the best that you can. Also, be sure the garage door is in working order. It should open without hesitation and greased to cut down on noise if possible. This also goes for all doors both inside and outside the house.
The air conditioner should be free of rust and be draining properly. It should blow cold air and free from any unpleasant odors. Also, be sure to clean the vents so that no dust is obvious.
The patio floor should be clean and painted if necessary. Well-manicured potted plants always make for a pleasant atmosphere along with some nice outdoor furniture if possible. The lanai or patio area is usually a place where homeowners like to relax. Try to help any potential buyer envision that relaxation place. If you have a swimming pool, be sure the chemicals are adjusted properly to ensure clear, sparkling water. Any pool toys or chemicals should be stored neatly or out of view if possible.
Windows should be free of ripped or bent screens. These should be replaced or removed entirely. Windows should also be clean and cobweb free. Being able to have draperies open, allowing light into the house is a plus at any showing.
Floors should be repaired if damaged. Broken or cracked tile should be replaced and floors clean. Having the carpet steam cleaned will improve its luster and will help eliminate any odors from smoke or pets. Be sure flooring on any staircases are secured properly to avoid injuries.
Make sure lights and fixtures around the house, inside and out, have working bulbs with proper wattage. Lights on in a home during a showing add to the appearance. Dining fixtures, foyer fixtures, floor and table lamps will provide brightness to your home
Also, be sure switches and faceplates are working and free from cracks.
If the appliances are being included with the home, be sure they are working properly. Any appliances that are not in working order, or need repair need to be disclosed to the prospective buyer if you do not intend on fixing them.
Any plumbing issues should be attended to. Leaks, dripping faucets, noisy, stained or running lavatories as well as chipped or stained sinks should be repaired or replaced. Sprinkler systems should also be in working order with no damaged sprinkler heads.
Providing a feeling of openness in a home can be accomplished quite easily and allows the house to appear larger. Open areas free of clutter are very important in showing a home.
Simple tasks such as storing extra furniture and other things that may make your house feel closed in or cluttered can really change the appearance of you home. One important thing that buyers always look for is closet space. Cleaning out closets and storing unused items can help eliminate closet clutter. This also goes for any storage space and garage space your home may have. Garage space is very important to buyers. Sometimes renting a small storage unit to help cut down on garage clutter may pay off in the long run. Cabinets and countertops should also be kept neat and any unused appliances should be stored in cabinets rather than on countertops.
Moving furniture around so that rooms don’t seem so closed off is also a way to make a house appear more open. Simply repositioning a sofa or loveseat can open up a room.
Keep it Clean
Although you may be selling your house, you are also still living in it. It is very important to try to keep your home as clean as possible in between showings. Bathrooms especially can get dirty extremely fast. Soiled surfaces, mildew in the showers, soap scum residue, dirty shower tracks and old or stained bath mats will cause a showing to flop immediately. If the bathrooms in a house aren’t kept up the entire home becomes undesirable. The kitchen is also an important area to keep after, as it can also get dirty fast. Be sure to keep the stove clean and the oven free from drips and stains. Range tops should have clean drip pans and the exhaust hood should be replaced as needed.
Selling a home can be a lot of work, but with all your efforts, they can pay off quickly and with a larger sum of money.
Visit our Buyer Tips and Seller Tips pages for more FAQ's. Many thanks to Jerry Self who sells Wichita Real Estate for his input on this article
See also Real Estate Glossary