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

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If youíre 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 canít learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, weíre 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 youíve been dreaming of and deciding whether itís really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

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

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that theyíre 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 youíll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure youíre 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 shouldnít 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 canít tell you

Now that weíve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. Youíll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them wonít 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 itís 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.




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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 donít 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. Itís easier to get swept away emotionally when you donít 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 proís and conís together.

Buying a home as an individual is a unique process but it doesnít 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 Ė collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.




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Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 11/30/2018

You may think of downsizing as something that makes sense when you have an empty nest. Larger families do, of course, need more room. Downsizing can also be financially strategic and rewarding for you and your family if you have the opportunity to do so.


How Much Is Your Home Worth? 


There comes a point in your life when the amount of money that your home is worth is very important. Maybe you need the money for retirement and are looking to move to a cheaper city or state. Maybe itís time for you to pursue your goals and dreams. Whatever the reason, your home is a very large asset.  


If you downsize, youíll have a bit more money available to invest for your future. You may even consider buying an investment property. If all of your money isnít tied up in a home, youíll have a bit more freedom to do other things with your money.


A Smaller Home Means Smaller Expenses 


When you downsize your home you end up with much lower expenses for your housing. Youíll save big on both utilities and home maintenance. Youíll be surprised as to how much extra cash youíll have each and every month that youíll be able to use for other things like investing, travel, or other expenses. Youíll have the ability to do things beyond simply achieve that one dream goal of home ownership. 


What If You Donít Already Own A Home?


Thereís a lesson to be learned here for renters as well. If youíre getting ready to buy a home, you may want to think small. A smaller home that can suit your needs will allow you to save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage on your home. Remember that a mortgage payment is more than just the cost of the home. Youíll need to include things like taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance, heating, electricity, and more. The smaller the house that you buy, the less all of these things will cost. Think of what you could do if you invested that extra money that you saved on all of these things each month. 


What Would You Do With The Money You Save?


Having a big, beautiful home is a fantastic goal to achieve. You may have other dreams that you want to pursue in addition to owning a home. While downsizing isnít for everyone, many people use the money they save to do some pretty incredible things like:


  • Travel
  • Go back to school
  • Buy a vacation home


The Negatives Of Downsizing


If you move into a smaller home, there are a few drawbacks. For one, youíll have less storage and will actually need to downsize your amount of belongings as well. Youíll also have less room for visitors if hey come to stay. If grandkids frequent your home, you may be hesitant to sell and find a smaller place. It may also be difficult to find what youíre looking for at a certain price in a specific area. Think carefully before you decide to downsize and see if it has the right benefits for you.





Posted by Larry Costa REALTOR® on 11/9/2018

In todayís world, everything is online. You probably have started your home search online as well. Itís plain fun to look at real estate. You can dream of living in a place you canít afford. You might never see any of those listings that youíre browsing in person. Should you?


No matter when your home search may become a reality, there are a few benefits to seeing houses in person. 


Youíll See What Your Money Can Get You


What you want and what you can afford may be far apart. You wonít understand the reality of the housing market unless you see it firsthand. By looking at whatís available on the market at a given time, you will be able to see how much house your dollars will buy you. Knowing what you can afford will help you to keep your expectations in check when you do head out to search for a home. Looking at what homes are on the market can actually help you to help your real estate agent find you something that will suit your needs. Thereís nothing worse than telling your agent that you want a home thatís impossible to find.


Youíll Meet Real Estate Agents


By going to open houses, youíll be able to meet different real estate agents. Through this process, you could very well meet the agent who will help you to find your dream home. If you like the way an agent is helping to sell a home, youíll very likely get along with them as a buyer. 


You Will Know How Much Competition You Have


If youíre attending open houses and find that there are many other people there the same time as you, it could be a sign that the market has tight competition. A lot of open house attendees means that prices are higher because the competition is fierce. You may have to offer above asking price in order to secure a deal on a home.


Youíll Learn Different Areas


Open houses can bring you to places you may have never thought of living before. Youíll get a sense of what different neighborhoods are like if you spend some time exploring through attending open houses. 


Youíll Learn What You Can Live With


Itís easy to have a concrete picture in your mind of what you want in a home and what you can deal with. When you see houses firsthand, you may be able to open your mind a bit as to the type of home youíre seeking.  


 





Tags: Buying a home  
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