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Home Buyers

Six Questions to Ask Next Time You’re at an Open House

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An open house is an event hosted by a real estate where they allow walk-ins to tour a home that is for sale. The real estate agent often distributes information about the home and surrounding community during the tour and gives you the opportunity to explore the home. Many searching buyers explore open houses in neighborhoods they’re interested in to get a feel for the layout and structure of the home. If you’re new at touring opens, here are some key questions to ask that will help you make the most of your visit.

How long has this home been on the market?

The amount of time a home has been on the market indicates a few key elements concerning the price and marketability. If the home was just put on the market at a lower price, that may indicate the sellers are looking to sell quickly, making it more advantageous to put in an offer quickly. If the home has been on the market for a few months, the price may not match comparable home prices, therefor, may be a bit more stagnant. In either situation, talk to your Realtor about optimizing your offer for acceptance.

How many offers have been made on this home?

The number of offers on a home may impact your strategy when making an offer. If there are one or more offers on the table, consider meeting with your Realtor to determine the best way to reach offer acceptance Don’t let other offers intimidate you. Your ability to make an offer is the same as anyone else’s. In the event there are no offers on the table, you may have a higher opportunity to purchase at a lower price point.

What year was this home constructed?

Understanding the year the home was built will give you an understanding of the age of the internal home systems including cooling, heating, plumbing, etc. Unless explicitly stated, older homes often come with the original home systems.

What is the surrounding area like?

It’s important to consider the surrounding neighborhood, crime-levels, school districts, neighboring home appearances, etc. when buying a home because these indirectly affect the value of your potential home. Your Realtor should have an understanding of the area, as well as have additional resources for you to reference that will provide additional information.

Where are the lot lines?

In many residential areas, it can be difficult to determine the lot of the home. The Realtor at the open house should be able to provide you with an estimate of the home’s lot; however, in order to get exact measurements, a certified surveyor’s opinion would be required.

What are the property taxes?

Property tax will vary based on a number of factors that may or may not be apparent after walking through an open house. Your Realtor should have the previous years property tax valuations that will give you an estimate of the annual tax amount.

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
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