Home Buyers

Should I Rent or Buy?


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Relocating for work? Upsizing or downsizing? Desiring a new neighborhood/city? These are all common reasons to move. The question comes down to determining if it’s better to rent or buy. Below are a few questions you should ask yourself before starting your home or apartment search.

1. How long do I want to live here?

Determine how long you’re planning to live in the area. If you’re relocating with a company you’ve been with for many years, this may be considered a long-term move with a reliable organization. However, if you’ve just started a new job with a new company, this may be a shorter relocation period based on your performance or job satisfaction. A common rule of thumb is the three-year test. If the amount of time you’d spend in one area is three years or less, it is often better to rent. If the amount of time is over three years, it is often better to buy. This is not a golden rule that must be followed, but rather a point of reference to consider during your research. In fact, many housing situations are complex and unique in their own way. The best way to determine what is best for you is to meet with a Realtor to discuss your options.

2. How much money do I have to put down?

Consider the amount of money you’re able to allocate to a home down-payment. This is often one of the top reasons individuals chose to rent for a year or two before buying a home. The main difference between the renting and buying is not the monthly payments, but the amount of money initially due, in combination with receiving approval for a home loan. If you don’t have a down payment for your desired home’s value up-front, you may need to rent temporarily until you have the funds necessary to qualify for a loan and purchase a home. Talk to your Realtor about having them help you coordinate a meeting with a trusted loan advisor to learn about available options.

3. How invested am I in this area?

Being invested in an area may influence your decision to buy or rent a home. Do you have a particular school district your children are enrolled in? Or are you involved in a local organization or city council you are actively involved in? Many people prefer to purchase a home in an area they are involved and invested in. If you are relatively new to an area, it may be wise to look into a short-term lease while exploring different areas prior to making your home purchase.

4. How much time do I have to move?

Are you looking to move tomorrow or in the next few months? Finding a place to rent can take a few days, whereas finding a place to buy can take a few weeks or months to close. Buying requires a number of added steps including; drafting offers, negotiating, closing, and fulfilling required inspections/contingencies. If you’re on a time crunch, it may be less stressful to start out with a lease and transition to buying. You may consider a short-term lease for 6 – 9 months, giving you more time to continue your home search.

5. How many people are living with me?

Are you the only one moving? Or do you have a significant other or family members coming with you? Consider the decision from multiple points of view. If you’re a single individual, you may not be interested in the larger square footage that comes with purchasing a home. However, if you have multiple members coming with you, it’s important to consider the needs of each member including square footage and privacy.

Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI

Home Buyers

4 Reasons to Buy a Townhome


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Before we talk about 4 reasons to buy a townhome, it might be good to discuss what a townhome is. A townhome is defined as an individual house placed side by side where one or two of the walls are shared between adjacent homes. In other words, townhomes are close in proximity to other townhomes and share common walls.

Unlike a condo, where you own the inside of the home only, in a townhome you own the exterior of the house, the land, along with the interior. There are pros and cons to every form of home ownership. Read the article below to see the why many people have chosen a townhome to call their home.

1) Low Maintenance

In a townhome, you don’t have to spend the weekends checking of a list of things that need to be done around the house. You don’t need to hire landscapers or worry about the upkeep of the grounds. Most townhomes are designed to be as maintenance free as possible, allowing you to spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

2) Lower Price

Generally speaking, if a townhome and a single family home have similar specs and are relatively the same age, the townhome will have a better price. Not only is the price of the townhomes lowering cost, but the taxes for townhomes are often lower annually.

3) Low or No HOA’s

Most townhome communities are not associations, which means you do not need to pay monthly association fees. This benefit comes with the responsibility for the upkeep of the exterior. On the contrary, association fee’s required on townhomes are typically are lower because of the limited elements needed to be maintained.

4) Increased Security

The shared wall and close proximity creates a more secure neighborhood. Close neighbors can watch for suspicious activity and keep tabs on your property while you’re away at work or on a vacation.

Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI

Home Buyers

The Protection of a Home Inspection


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Whether you’re buying your first home or your fourteenth home, it’s always a good idea to have your home inspected. A home inspection gives you more detailed information about the overall condition of the home prior to your purchase. In a home inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home to:

  • Evaluate the physical condition: structure, construction, and mechanical systems;
  • Identify items that need to be repaired or replaced; and
  • Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems, equipment, structure, and finishes.

Appraisals are Different from Home Inspections

An appraisal is different from a home inspection. Appraisals are for lenders; home inspections are for buyers. An appraisal is required to:

  • Estimate the market value of a house;
  • Make sure that house meets the FHA minimum property standards/requirements; and
  • Make sure that the property is marketable.

FHA Does Not Guarantee the Value of Condition of your Potential New Home

If you find problems with your new home after closing, FHA cannot give or lend you money for repairs, and FHA cannot buy the home back from you. That is why it is so important for you, the buyer, to get an independent home inspection. Ask a qualified home inspector to inspect your potential new home and give you the information you need to make a wise decision.

Radon Gas Testing

The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General of the United States have recommended that all houses should be tested for radon. For more information on radon testing, call the toll-free National Radon Information Line at 1-800-767-7236. As with a home inspection, if you decide to test for radon, you may do so before signing your contract, or you may do so after signing the contract as long as your contract states the sale of the home depends of your satisfaction with the results of the radon test.

Be an Informed Buyer

It is your responsibility to be an informed buyer. Be sure that what you buy is satisfactory in every respect. You have the right to carefully examine your potential new home with a qualified home inspector. You may arrange to do so before signing your contract, or may do so after signing the contract as long as your contract states that the sale of the home depends on the inspection.

This information was brought to you by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Federal Housing Administration. For more housing resources information, visit their website at www.hud.gov.
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI

Home Selling

Market your Home like a Real Estate Expert


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1. Stage Your Home

Staging displays your home in it’s best light. It’s important to highlight your home’s top features by eliminating common distractions that can lower the perceived value. Start by removing the clutter and boxing up personal items, leaving only clean and simple decorations. Next rearrange the furniture. Too much furniture makes a room look small, so temporarily move furniture into your basement or garage storage. Finally, deep clean your home from top to bottom for the best results.

2. Photograph your Home

Once your home is staged, capture about twenty professional photos highlighting the unique features of your home. It’s important to remember not all cameras or electronic devices produce the same quality of images. Remember, there are many aspects to consider when taking your photos including, lighting, color, and composition. Hiring a professional photographer can help you attain higher quality images, especially if you don’t have camera equipment or photography experience. If you decide to take photos on your own, take photos at different times of the day to capture optimal lighting.

3. Target your Online Audience

According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of homebuyers start their search online. For this reason, it’s important your home is listed on the web. For optimal exposure, create a listing page on www.ForSaleByOwner.com. This relatively inexpensive approach will market your home to your online audience. If you’re looking to save money, create a free home listing on both Zillow and Craigslist. Use social media to share your home sale with friends and family. Make sure to include a link to your listing page and a few of your professional photos in your post so others can easily share and view more information about your home. You’ll be surprised how many people can be reached by one simple post.

4. Promote Curb Appeal

When buyers are interested in your home, they will likely drive by before making formal contact. For this reason, it’s vital to promote curb appeal. Keeping the yard clean and parking your clean car outside are two simple actions that go a long way. It’s also important to have a yard sign including a weatherproof box with promotional flyers at the end of your driveway. This is a great way to inform daily commuters about your home. Whether you’re selling your home now or later, keep these four simple steps in mind. You will drive more traffic to your home and increase your selling success. I wish you the best with your house sale and search. I enjoy hearing feedback from my readers. Please comment with your feedback or further questions.

Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI

Home Buyers

4 Steps to Starting your Home Buying Process


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1. Get Pre-Approved

Unless you’re fortunate enough to have enough money to pay for your next home in cash, understand that the process of buying a house doesn’t begin with home searching. It begins by getting pre-approved. The pre-approval process is not the most fun place to start, but by allowing a lender access to your financial information and by filling out an application, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Speak with a lender today, they’ll be more than happy to help you through the process.

2. Make a List – “must have’s” vs “nice to have’s”

It’s important to identify what’s important for the house to have early on, so you don’t let your emotions get in the way of your decision making later on. Make a list of what the home must have. The list of must have’s should include things that you shouldn’t compromise on. These items vary for different people, but in general try to have 2-3 solid must have’s written down. Then make a list of the things that would be nice to have, but wouldn’t be totally necessary. These are things that you want to house to possess, but wouldn’t be a deal breaker.

3. Find a Realtor®

We are all trying to save a dollar, but in nearly all cases, a buyer will not have to pay their realtor’s commision. Typically that portion is paid for by the seller. When choosing a Realtor, find one who is up to date on the current market trends, and is willing to go above and beyond to get you in the right home. The process of buying a home is just that, “a process,” so find a realtor who is going to make the experience enjoyable along the way. Also, ask your agent to explain buyer agency and whether or not this is a good fit for you.

4. Communicate with your Realtor®

It’s important to be honest and open with a realtor. The more they understand about what you are looking for, and how they can assist you, the better off you’ll be. If you really don’t know what you’re looking for, or if you are really just looking, let your realtor know. If you want to shock your realtor, give them your list of Must Have’s and Nice to Have’s, they’ll greatly appreciate it. If you follow these steps, you’ll be on your way to buying your new home.

Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI