Larry Costa REALTOR®
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Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 1/11/2019

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 1/4/2019

If you own a city home but are ready to relocate, now may be a great time to list your residence. In fact, there are many reasons why an individual may choose to sell his or her city residence, and these include:

1. You want to downsize or upgrade.

Although your city house likely has served you well for many years, it may become too big or too small for you due to changes in your living situation. Fortunately, if you sell your city residence, you can downsize or upgrade as needed.

If you decide to list your city house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Therefore, if you craft a property selling strategy, you can determine what steps you'll need to take to quickly sell your city home and maximize your house sale earnings.

2. You want to live closer to family members and friends.

Your city home probably provides convenient access to a wide array of attractions and landmarks. But in some instances, a city residence may be far away from family members and friends.

If you want to live closer to loved ones, there is no need to worry. By listing your city home, you can take the first step to relocate closer to family members and friends outside the city. And after you sell your city house, you may be able to reap the benefits of quick, easy access to loved ones.

3. You are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Let's face it – the city is a busy place. A city home may have seemed like a fun, exciting place to live, at least at first. But if you've grown tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, you may want to sell your current residence and relocate to a new home in a small town.

If you know how to promote your city home to the right groups of potential buyers, you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your house. And if your city residence boasts amazing curb appeal and a stunning interior, you could boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home selling experience.

As you get ready to list your city home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. With this housing market professional at your side, you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will allocate time and resources to learn about you and your city residence. Next, he or she will craft a personalized home selling strategy designed to help you achieve your property selling goals. And if you have any concerns or questions as you put your house selling plan into action, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Take the guesswork out of selling your home in the city. Employ a real estate agent today, and you can receive comprehensive support as you list your city home and navigate the property selling journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 12/28/2018

Buying a home as a single individual comes with its own set of unique experiences and challenges. Some are to be expected, like financing with a single income. While others not so much, like a more competitive market.

You know that financing will be based on your sole income. However, the vast majority of homeowners are couples who have dual incomes. Your eligibility is going to be very different than that of a couple and for some home buyers when they receive a lower number this comes as a shock. Expect to see numbers that are on the lower side of those who apply as couples.

Since you are on a sole income you may want to look into various loan types such as those that offer low-interest rates and lower down payments. Two to look at are first-time buyers programs and FHA loans.

When comparing options watch the lenders fee in comparison to the interest rate. Where you may have low-interest rate it might come with a higher lender fee. Do the math on these ratios to get a true value of each.

Before applying for mortgage approval, clean up your budget and handle any existing debts, especially expensive ones. Pay off card balances, refinance student loans, and swap out expensive monthly car payments for one that is more reasonable.

Draw up a budget and get really clear on just how much house you can afford month to month. Include the cost of house ownership and maintenance in your budget in addition to the cost of future monthly mortgage payments.

As a sole earner having savings is incredibly important as you don’t have a second income to rely on. In addition to setting aside your down payment (as close to the recommended 20% as you can), build up a nest egg of three to six months worth income should anything misfortune arise.

Start the buying process well prepared with the right mindset. Smaller houses make up a lower percentage of the housing market and cheaper homes are competitive when it comes to the buying process. Be ready for a search that might go a little longer and a buying process that needs you to move a little faster than traditional ones.

Bring a trusted friend or family member with you to home viewings to have a sounding board for your decision process. It’s easier to get swept away emotionally when you don’t have a partner to hash out the gritty details with. Find someone who can come to each viewing with you so that you can compare the different homes pro’s and con’s together.

Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesn’t have to be a difficult or lonely one. Ask for feedback from your realtor, bring a trusted friend and know what to expect from the buying process as a sole income earner.





Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 12/21/2018

Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.

1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.

The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.

It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.

2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.

Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.

In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.

On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.

Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.

3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.

When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.

Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 12/14/2018

After you receive an offer to purchase your residence, determining the best course of action often can be difficult. Because if you make the wrong decision, you risk missing out on an opportunity to sell your house and maximize its value.

Ultimately, it may prove to be beneficial for a home seller to submit a counter-offer. There are many reasons why a seller may choose to provide a counter-proposal, and these include:

1. A homebuyer's initial offer to purchase fails to match your expectations.

Although a homebuyer's initial offer to purchase your residence fell below your expectations, you can always submit a counter-offer to find out if a buyer is negotiable. That way, you may be able to work with a buyer to find a common price that is suitable for all parties.

When it comes to selling a house, there is no harm in submitting a counter-offer. Remember, the worst response a home seller will receive to a counter-proposal is a simple "No." And even in the worst-case scenario, a seller can move forward with the property selling journey and await an offer to purchase that matches his or her expectations.

2. You are flexible about the price of your house.

As a home seller, you probably realize that what you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your residence's current value. But even if you set a competitive initial asking price for your home, you may still want to negotiate a counter-offer if a buyer's initial proposal falls short.

The housing market constantly fluctuates, and a sector that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow. Thus, if you are flexible about the price of your house, you can always negotiate a price with a buyer that accounts for the present state of the real estate sector.

3. You want to get the best-possible price for your residence.

The goal of the home selling journey is to obtain the best price for your home, regardless of the real estate market's conditions. Therefore, rather than accept or reject an offer to purchase, it may be beneficial to see if you can receive a better proposal from a buyer.

As you move along the home selling journey and review an offer to purchase, you should not hesitate to collaborate with a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of guidance throughout the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will help you list your residence and promote it to prospective buyers. He or she will set up home showings and open house events and keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your residence. Then, when you receive an offer to purchase, you and your real estate agent can work together to determine how to proceed.

Hire a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. By employing a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to fully analyze an offer to purchase your residence.