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Will Guza
REALTOR®, Associate Broker, GRI, CRS, ABR
(804) 402-7799
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Date Archives: May 2019

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May
30

How to know if you're ready to buy a house

Buying a house should never be entered into lightly, and often many potential buyers may not realize just how much work it actually takes or the process involved. Doing as much research as possible can help determine exactly what is needed and required, to put a buyer in the best possible position to make a purchase.

Here are ten (10) great ways to help you identify the point at which making a home purchase becomes feasible for you:

1) Little to no credit card debt

When you're trying to get a mortgage, perhaps the most important aspect of doing so is getting your credit card debt reduced as close to zero as possible, according to Money Under 30. That's true for two reasons. First, the size of your credit card balances relative to your limits makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Second, lenders look at debt-to-income ratio. As long as you're carrying relatively small balances from one month to the next (or ideally, not carrying a balance at all), you'll be in good shape.

2) All other loans paid off

One of the biggest hurdles for the millennial generation when it comes to being financially capable of buying a home is student loans. It may not be wise to try to buy until your loan balances under control. That doesn't mean they have to be paid off in full, but they certainly need to be somewhat small relative to your income.

3) Tens of thousands of dollars in savings

Ready to buy?If you're trying to buy a home in today's market, you'll almost certainly need to make a sizable down payment. While it's possible to get mortgages with down payment requirements as low as 3 percent, the added long-term expense could end up costing you significantly over the life of the loan. Making as large a down payment as possible is going to keep your borrowing costs down.

4) A rainy day fund

In addition to the money that will go toward your down payment, it's vital to have some additional money saved just in case something goes wrong with the home, according to Mint. As a general rule, having about $1 per square foot - or 1 percent of the purchase price - in the bank will help cover some basic expenses you're likely to encounter after your home purchase.

5) A long-term plan

Whether you're buying a home for a whole family or as a single person, you need to know what your situation is going to look like two, five, 10 or even 20 years down the road. That will inform a lot of decisions about the kinds of homes you're looking to purchase - i.e. not buying a small one that you'll have to move out of in a few years when you have kids - and how much work you'll have to put in to make sure your finances are in good enough shape to do so.

6) Reliable income

Lenders also want to make sure you're going to be able to keep up with your mortgage payments in the long term, so a steady job is a must, according to Credit Sesame. While no one can predict their employers' future with 100 percent accuracy, it might not be a good idea to go house hunting at a time of turmoil. As long as you're fairly confident in your position, shopping should be no problem.

7) A comfortable cushion

One issue some homeowners encounter after buying a home is they've pushed themselves so far financially trying to get ready for the real estate sales process that they come out the other side in rough financial shape. Being "house poor" means people own a house but otherwise struggle financially because of the cost of that property. You'll need to make sure you're not buying too much house or else risk running into other financial problems even if you can technically afford the mortgage and other costs.

8) An understanding of what constitutes affordability

Along similar lines, it's vital to not only factor in the cost of the mortgage, taxes and so on themselves, but also other expenses. This may include higher electric and heating bills that come with living in a bigger space, more costly insurance coverage (especially if your new home is in an area prone to flooding) and so on. Sitting down and doing the math around the true cost of homeownership will help you avoid being house poor or running into expenses you might not have realized will crop up

9) A list of must-haves and nice-to-haves

When people actually start shopping for homes, it can be easy to fall in love with certain properties, according to Forbes. However, while it would be nice to have a state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless steel appliances, it's probably going to be expensive and not necessary to your happiness in the home. Having a list of things that you will absolutely need out of your new property - big backyard for the kids, finished basement for a home office, etc. - will inform your choices and help you get a better idea of what you can actually afford.

10) A talented and experienced agent

The key role of real estate professionals in every portion of the process cannot be overstated. They will be able to help first-time buyers as well as those who have previously been through the process get as prepared as possible so they can maximize their understanding and the value they get out of buying a home. Experienced agents have likely seen it all and can help shepherd any client through a sale - as either buyers or sellers - with ease.

 

Buying a home is usually going to be the biggest purchase anyone makes in their entire lives, so it's important to put in a lot of legwork - over a period of months or more - to ensure things go as smoothly as possible at each step of the shopping process. That, in turn, will help you feel more confident in your ability to make a purchase with confidence that you've done everything right. 

 

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click

www.hmsnational.com

May
24

5 great ways to get your home ready for summer

With Memorial Day almost here– giving way to the fast approaching summer - homeowners are encouraged to make preparations were necessary to ensure their homes are ready for the hot weather.

Here are five (5) tips to make sure your home and family will be in the best shape possible:

1) A/C Check and Maintenance

Whether your home has a central air conditioning system or window units you'll install when the weather gets a little hotter, you have to make sure they're in good shape, according to Insurance Hub. After all, if they're going to get dozens of hours of use every week for the next several months, having them in good working condition is a must not just so they work properly, but also so they're safe.

You'll also need to check and potentially replace the air filters on all units.

2) Clean your fans thoroughly

Along similar lines, if your home has ceiling or box fans you plan to use, you'll need to clean the blades carefully. That's because lots of dust builds up on them if they're not used throughout the fall and winter, and it can make them run less efficiently and propel dust around a home. That's not just a pain to clean, but lots of dust particles can also be a health risk if there's enough of it lying around.

3) Check the attic and basement

Spring is a time when a lot of moisture can build up in a short period, thanks to rain, condensation and so on. That can really do a number on your roof, foundation or both, so you'll need to carefully inspect these spaces for any sign of dampness. This may point to a bigger issue you'll need to fix, but that kind of check is vital to make sure problems don't get worse over the course of the summer.

Ready for summer4) Maintain your yard and the tools it needs

A big part of summer is tending to your lawn, garden, trees and so on, and you'll need to make sure you know how to properly care for all of them, according to Liberty Mutual. Of course, in addition to the know-how, you also have to have the right equipment, whether that's a freshly tuned-up lawnmower or gardening tools. If, after a long winter, they need to be cleaned, sharpened or otherwise better maintained, now is the time to do it.

5) Keep gutters clear

While April showers have already given way to May flowers, you're certainly not out of the woods yet when it comes to heavy spring and summer rains. While you likely cleared out the gutters already, once winter came to an end, giving them another check well after spring has sprung is always a good idea. This can help you identify potential issues, including leaks in the gutters or downspouts, that make the systems less effective than they otherwise should be.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

May
17

5 tips for first-time buyers

Spring is here and that means many first-time buyers are looking to enter the market. Having the ability to get through that process with as little stress about the purchase as possible is critical in highly competitive markets.

With that in mind, here are five tips that should help first-timers better navigate the real estate sales process without a lot of stress, confusion or hiccups:

1) Work with a qualified real estate professional

First-time buyers in particular are always advised to work with a real estate agent on the process because it can be so complicated and time-consuming, even with professional help, according to The Balance. There are about a million things that can pop up in the course of the search for a home and, even after a deal is agreed upon, the sales process itself. As a result, having an agent you can call or text with questions or concerns as they develop is an absolute must.

2) Get pre-approved

When trying to buy a home, one of the most difficult things for first-time shoppers is finding a budget that works for them and their unique financial situations, and actually sticking to it. When shoppers fall in love with a particular home, it can be easy to bid aggressively and end up agreeing to a price they might not actually be able to afford.

This is one huge reason getting pre-approved for a mortgage is so important: A lender will let you know roughly how much credit they will extend to you, and that should serve as the ceiling for what you can bid. As an added bonus, borrowers will also be able to expedite the sales process itself if they are pre-approved.

3) Narrow the search

With the help of an agent and a budget in mind, first-timers will have a much easier time finding homes they're interested in and really focusing on which will be best for them based on their own needs. Honing in on specific features within a certain price range can help reduce the number of open houses they have to attend.

4) Look beyond the asking price

first-time home buyersIn addition to the expense of buying the house itself, first-timers would be wise to remember the other costs associated with homeownership, according to DaveRamsey.com. Adding in expenses like higher electric and heating bills, homeowners insurance and the cost of making the small home repairs that will likely add up significantly over the course of the year is a must when it comes to determining how much house you can truly afford.

5) This about more than just the house

Finally, it's also important to consider future plans. If first-time buyers think they will be looking to trade up for a bigger house in the next five years, that's something to discuss with an agent. The same is true of local amenities, the quality of school districts for those with kids and so on, because all of this will not only affect the price of the house, but also the quality of life for first-time buyers.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

May
15

4 home DIY projects for spring

If you're already doing spring cleaning, it might be wise to get out the toolbox and do some home improvement projects as well. A little maintenance can go a long way after the tough winter months.

Here are some crucial tips to making sure your home can recover from the winter.

1) Fix the roof

Damaged RoofThere's probably no part of your home that takes as much of a beating every winter as the roof, according to BobVila.com. After all, it not only deals with snow, sleet and rain, but also harsh winds, cold weather, water runoff and bearing the weight of snow and ice that builds up over the course of a few months.

With that in mind, it's quite common for shingles or tiles to crack, loosen or fall off during the winter. When the spring thaw hits, going up there once it's safe and checking everything carefully will give you an idea of how much repair work you have to do.

2) Look for leaks, fissures and cracks

Along similar lines to inspecting your roof, it can also be a good idea to look over your home's interior and exterior for any signs of wear and tear from the winter. Missing shingles can be a sign of leaks into the attic, so checking inside is always wise if there's obvious damage on the roof. The same is true of checking along windows and exterior doorways for any fissures, which can be fixed with caulk more often than not.

It's also smart to check your home's foundation for any cracks or holes that might have formed, and fill them with an appropriate patching substance as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

3) Check the deck and siding

While you may not realize it, painted, stained or even sealed decks can really get a lot of muck and grime built up on them throughout the winter, according to New Hampshire Magazine. That's also the case with siding, whether wooden or vinyl. Usually, turning a pressure washer on them can help unlock their real beauty once again, and renting this kind of equipment shouldn't carry too big of a price tag.

4) Examine the gutters

Finally, if your home has gutters, now is the time to check them out. They might have taken a bit of damage (especially if there was ice buildup) or clogged with tree debris over the winter. Just checking to make sure they're in good shape before all those April and May showers arrive is a great idea.

Of course, no one knows your house better than you do, so if there's an issue that seems to crop up consistently every year, working on ways to permanently address it is always the smartest way to start your home DIY efforts. Otherwise, just doing routine checks and maintenance to make sure everything is as it should be will help you avoid bigger problems down the road.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/04/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/04/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of CVRMLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 11:23:05 AM EST) or Bright MLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 11:17:53 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Joyner Fine Properties may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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