Keller Williams SD

5 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

mistakes

Avoid These 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

According to the dictionary, a mistake is an error resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness. While we can’t do anything about carelessness, when it comes to counseling first-time homebuyers, the real estate agent is a tremendous resource to help overcome knowledge deficiency.

That homebuyers lack knowledge about the process only makes sense when you understand that shopping for a home may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. Certainly, it’s not something most Americans do frequently. The process is foreign and the pitfalls are hidden. This is why it’s so important to find the right real estate agent to assist you along the way.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not Being Clear About Money

Going into a home purchase with your eyes closed to your finances is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the process. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, yet that’s what you open yourself up to when you are ignorant about where you stand financially.

If you are unsure about your credit-worthiness, order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. By law, Americans are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months. You can order your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Look for errors on the reports and dispute any erroneous information. Pay off what you can to help lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Then, see a lender to determine exactly how much you can borrow for a home.

Finally, when you have that figure, don’t be tempted to shop for homes priced at the limit. Give your post-purchase budget some monthly wiggle room by purchasing at the middle of the price range, or a bit more.

Mistake 2: Not Being Clear About Your Wants and Needs

While you may not get everything on a wish list, it’s a good idea to compile one – especially if more than one person will be living in the home.

Understand that your wish list isn’t set in stone and you can plan on it changing once you start viewing homes. During the home-shopping process, you will get a better idea of which items are feasible with your budget and which will have to be struck from the list. Knowing what you want and need in a home is vital to your long-term satisfaction, so it’s worth the time it takes to sit down and make a list.

Don’t neglect the neighborhood wish list either. Do you need to be close to public transportation? If you’d like a family neighborhood with lots of kids for yours to play with, put that on the list.

The bonus to getting clear on your wants and needs is that when you share the list with your real estate agent, your time won’t be wasted by viewing homes that don’t fit your criteria.

Mistake 3: Not Reading the HOA Documents

If the home you decide to make an offer on is managed by a homeowners association, you’ll be presented with a stack of paperwork to read over and approve. These are the HOA documents and, although terribly boring, they hold a wealth of valuable information that you must be privy to before making the final decision to purchase the property.

These documents govern how you can use your home, and they give you an idea of how much and how often your fees might rise. You’ll learn about common and ongoing problems the association deals with and how financially solvent the association is.

Don’t be like the couple that purchased a condo without reading the HOA documents and found out, three days after closing, that they – along with all the other homeowners – were being assessed $7,500 to remedy construction defects.

If you don’t feel that you can read and understand the information in these documents, it’s important to hire an attorney to help you wade through them.

Mistake 4: Making Big Changes

The best part of the home-purchase process is that point during the transaction when inspections are complete, all the contingencies have been removed, and it feels like smooth sailing to the close.

Unfortunately, this is a danger zone for rookie homebuyers. This is typically when they start picturing themselves actually living in the home and the urge may be overwhelming to shop for furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.

Just before closing, many lenders perform what is known as a “soft pull” of your credit reports. It’s called “soft” because it doesn’t impact your score in any way. It’s the lender’s way of making sure all the circumstances under which it approved the loan haven’t changed.

Any big changes you make, such as large purchases or getting a new job, may derail or delay the purchase. If the new debt you’ve taken on is substantial enough, it may change your debt-to-income ratio and you may be forced to reapply for the mortgage.

Keep your pocketbook closed and remain on your current job until you walk away from the closing table.

Mistake 5: Waiving the Home Inspection

Although foregoing a home inspection was unthinkable a few years ago, in a seller’s market where multiple offers are common, it’s tempting to agree to waive the home inspection as an incentive for the seller to pick your offer. It’s also not very wise.

A professional inspection, even of a newly constructed home, may be the only way you’ll know whether you’re buying a lemon or a plum – a money pit or a smart investment.

When you forego a professional home inspection, you’re essentially buying the home “as is.” Without the inspection contingency, the buyer waives his right to ask for repairs or money to make the repairs.

Waiving the home inspection is never worth the risk.

Knowing how much home you can afford is paramount to a successful home purchase. Making the decision to remain within a certain budget, doing all you can to clean up your credit to get the lowest interest rate possible, and becoming clear on your desires and expectations all help to make the home-buying process as error-free as possible.

Your Local Real estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou,
Realtor ®

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy # 100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Direct 619-250-4541
Office 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com

 

 

 

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Selling Your Home: 3 Must-Knows Before You List

Sometimes the hardest part of selling a home is making the decision to sell it. Our homes give us roots, provide sanctuary, house memories and, hopefully, give us some financial security. It’s a huge decision to sell a home.
Once made, however, additional decisions will come fast and furious, so take some time now, before the frenzy, to understand three salient points about the successful sale of a home in today’s real estate marketplace.

What is Market Value?

One of the most challenging aspects of selling a home is determining the list price. Many homeowners will go online to find homes nearby that are for sale and base their price assumption on those that are most similar.
The list price of a home, however, is a fantasy. It represents an amount of money the seller thinks, or hopes the home will bring. Until the home sells, he may be right or he may be wrong.
Buyers set market value for homes. What a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer pays for a home is the home’s true market value. Therefore, when pricing a home for the market, one must always look at the sold prices of similar homes nearby.
This is the method both real estate agents and appraisers use when determining a home’s market value.

First Impressions Matter

Think back to when you were house hunting. Were there houses that you arrived at that you just couldn’t bear to get out of the car to look at? Chipped or peeling paint, sagging window and door screens, and overgrown or dead landscaping do not make a good first impression.
Before you do anything else, clean your house, inside and out. Make cosmetic repairs, especially outdoors where the house makes its first impression. Even if it’s merely a new coat of paint on the front door, shiny new house numbers and some fresh mulch in the planting beds, it may help folks want to see more.
Don’t neglect the interior either. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some websites with ideas on how to declutter and stage the home.

Don’t Attempt This on Your Own

I know what you’re thinking: Of course a real estate agent is going to tell me not to take the for-sale-by-owner route. So, I won’t ask you to take just my word for it. Let’s look at the cold, hard numbers.
First, only 9 percent of homeowners attempt to sell their homes without the aid of an agent, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Of those, almost half said they took this route because they were selling their home to someone they knew.
The next most commonly stated reason that a homeowner gave for not using an agent was that he or she didn’t want to pay the real estate commission. That’s understandable when one isn’t sure exactly what an agent does to get a home sold. Once you get a look at that list, you’ll understand that you definitely get what you pay for.
You should also take into consideration the fact that a home that is for sale by the owner is considered a bargain to most homebuyers. Many will walk in expecting you to kick back some of that money you’re saving by not using an agent. This is why, according to NAR, homes sold by agents sell for 16 percent more than those sold by owner.
Selling a home is a big deal and, thankfully, something we don’t often do. When it’s time to sell yours, start with the basics, as outlined above, and you’ll be ready to list your home before you know it.
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Parkway, #100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Office 619-873-2772   |   Cell 619-250-4541
http://www.StephenNissou.com   |   http://www.NissouRealtyGroup.com
Stephen@StephenNissou.com

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Office 619-873-2772

Cell 619-250-4541

Stephen@StephenNissou.com

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Tweaking Your Online Home Search

 

originalIn today’s digital age, many home buyers are searching the internet instead of newspapers to find a house. But sometimes scouring real estate search engines is kind of like online dating. With an overwhelming number of homes available in major cities, it may seem like too much to handle. Rest assured, there are only a few right for you.

So to cut down on the time in front of the computer, here are a few tips we’ve learned from our very own homebuyers when searching online for homes, and some advice for the neighborhoods you have your eyes on! Instead of beginning your search one websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Realtor.com, where you’re only entering your zip code, take a moment to think about what exactly you want in a home before your search. (How many bedrooms, baths, square-footage, neighborhood, etc.). Now that you’ve got that squared away…

Narrow down the neighborhood

Sure, you’ve heard the neighborhood is nice. But what’s nice about it? Check out crime rates, commutes, and if you have small children, school quality. Are you close to grocery stores? These things matter. Get an idea of what these homes are going for, too, by looking at “recently sold” and “Pending” homes in the area. Another great way to narrow down the neighborhood is to use tools (Zillow offers this) like custom maps to literally “put a ring on it”.

  1. Then Refine Again.
    So once you’ve narrowed down those bedrooms, baths, price, etc. you need to refine your search even more. Are you only looking for homes with a pool? Foreclosures? New Construction homes? Be sure to refine this criteria before proceeding with your home search. You’ll thank us later.

Is it a buyers or sellers market?
When you are ready to look for a home, choose a realtor. You need to know exactly how much leverage you have. What are homes selling for? Did the sellers from recent sales get what they asked for?

Online Agent Recommendations? We’ll pass…

While search engines are a great places to find a new restaurant you want to try, it’s not the best place when looking for a real estate agent to help you with your home. Just like companies pay to be featured on Google, agents pay to be featured on real estate search engines. It doesn’t hurt to check out online reviews of the agents, it’s best to ask friends and family for any recommendations before moving forward.

For more real estate tips, tricks, and advice, contact Stephen Nissou!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Office 619-873-2772
Cell 619-250-4541
http://www.StephenNissou.com
Stephen@StephenNissou.com

The Benefits of an Open House

Open House

You’re ready to sell your home and your real estate agent suggests an open house to showcase your home. What are the benefits to an open house?

Open Houses are one of the most effective ways to showcase your home to potential buyers. It gets eyes on your home to bring in potential buyers who would otherwise be too lazy or unmotivated to book a showing. By adding in advertising and signage and you’re going to catch the eye of casual and serious prospective buyers.

By doing an open house, you can set the scene your way with prospective homebuyers. Many times, prospective buyers will want to view your home with little to no notice. It can be stressful keeping your home “showcase ready” while on the market. With an open house, you’ll be able to prepare for an event that has the potential to bring in many potential buyers. Sweeten the deal by baking cookies and setting them out or filling vases with fresh flowers.

Another benefit of having an open house is that you are able to lock in an interested buyer. If your home has already caught the eye of a potential buyer they are more willing to come back for a second look at your home in a less formal setting. An open house gives the buyer the opportunity to also bring family and friends to the showing. Any given weekend, you’re likely to see multiple open houses in a particular location.

Buyers that are interested in purchasing a home in your area is able to compare homes in the area that are for sale by attending many different open houses, which gives you the opportunity to allow your home to stand out in a crowd.

Finally, another benefit of an open house is that you get to choose the timing to showcase your home. Holding an open house has the potential to put your home on the real estate map. Work strategically with your agent to schedule and organize a successful open house.

 

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou