home buying

Preparing to Buy a House: What You Need to Know

Buying a new home is an investment in your future, but is it right for you right now? There are a few things to consider before taking the real estate plunge. This is a large investment, and it should never be rash.

Location! Location! Location!

Be sure to look into the local school district. If you have children, it goes without saying that the quality of the school is key to your child's educational experience. The school evaluation, however, also includes the quality of the grounds and facilities. This is a major structure in the neighborhood and its condition can affect the surrounding property values. For childless homeowners, the school districts are still a factor. Because the school quality influences home buying decisions, it has a direct effect on resale and property value.

 Proximity is not just about schools. Consider how close you need to be from modern conveniences like the grocery store, freeway entrance, the mall or a local watering hole. For prospective homeowners that prefer a rural lifestyle, this might not be important. However, urban and suburban areas have a lot of consumer choices for all markets, and it is a factor.

Financial Commitment

Purchasing a home is one of the largest decisions that most people make. It was once expected that nearly every individual buy a home, but today, that isn't necessarily financially feasible. Real estate is a long-term investment and your timeline must be considered. If you are moving within a few years, you might want to rent. Although real estate is a great investment, it is not a short-term investment. Having your money tied to property might affect your liquidity when you need to move.

If you are moving into an unfamiliar area, you might not want to buy immediately. Taking the time to look round, gives you the opportunity to learn about neighborhoods and community points of interest that will drive your property decisions.

Running the Well Dry

Most spend every penny to get into a new house, especially first-time buyers, but this is not the best practice. Be sure to have a contingency fund for all of the unexpected costs. Although the home warranty covers most of the house, most operate on a pre-payment reimbursement plan. But warranty aside, other costs will arise. For example, most power companies require a deposit. If you have money set aside in your home fund right from the beginning, you can add to it as you go for post-warranty work.

Loving Your Space

Your new home is more than indoor living. Your surrounding outdoor space will provide hours of entertainment for your friends and family. Landscaping the front yard for curb appeal is important. If you are not the hands-on type, you might want to consider a home with a functional landscape. Regardless, the front yard adds aesthetic value to the home's appeal.

But let's be real, the backyard is where the entertaining happens. If the home you are considering needs more zip, consider installing a pool or hot tub to guarantee hours of family fun. Try looking up some great pool ideas that will fit your backyard. Also, having a barbeque area with dedicated conversation space, a kid play area, or a fun space for the dogs are all things to consider when looking at the perimeter areas of a home.

Untapped Potential

Visualizing beyond today is also key. If the area has undeveloped or underdeveloped land in the surrounding areas, research the community master plan or land ownership. It would be unfortunate to buy a beautiful home and have an industrial area built too close. This also goes the other way. Taking a risk on an older property with older buildings that are ripe for repurposing might be a smart investment too.

Whatever you decide when looking for your new home, be sure to think about what works for you. This is your investment. Are you ready to invest in your future?

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Is School Improvement Part of Your Ownership Strategy?

Neighborhoods with good schools often carry higher value for home buyers with children, so if you want to raise values in your neighborhood, supporting school improvement may be a valuable undertaking.

Improving the ranking or reputation of local schools involves community investments on many levels, and it generates benefits for everyone that extend well beyond real estate value. Obviously, "school improvement" is a larger undertaking than redoing a kitchen or adding a second floor to a home, but it may be more achievable than many realize.

How do home buyers, including millennials, prioritize in your area? Surveys have revealed that top home-selection priorities include safe, affordable neighborhoods with good schools. School district quality has a significant influence on neighborhood choice and often home values when buyers focus on what's best for their children.

Jack and Alice Johnson (name changed) finally found a house they could afford, proudly moved in, and grew to love the area. Their plan was to renovate their home and gain from improving the real estate value. At no time in this process had they thought about local schools since children were not in their immediate plans. They soon discovered that a "value ceiling" existed. No matter how much renovation money they poured into their home, its value would not significantly increase beyond that price point.

The Johnsons researched the area to identify criteria which established the local value ceiling. Some they could do nothing about; others showed some potential. They zeroed in on what they could contribute to and what could increase buyer perceived value for the area[—]the local elementary school was ripe for improvement. 

Neglect and apathy are among key factors  challenging schools and communities. These two negative factors can be minimized or canceled out by commitment from parents and non-parents alike. Your contribution, based on your skills, knowledge, and local connections, may become obvious to you and do-able for you when you read the following list of possible benefit strategies to supporting schools:

Back up parents

Schools benefit from parental contributions of time, skills, connections, money, and fundraising. Pitch-in to support parent efforts to improve buildings, textbook holdings, or facilities and benefits will abound.

Add your voice

Local politicians and school boards respond to numbers. Attend public meetings concerning the school to lend your support to parents and learning issues. Add your voice and presence[—]encourage other neighbors to join in—and the school may receive more attention and funding.

Strengthen teacher appreciation

Acknowledging teacher effort with recognition reinforces the type of classroom excellence that earns good schools their higher standings. Teacher benefits and recognition can attract more qualified educators who want to work and achieve more for themselves and their students. It's not the size of the reward but the quality of recognition received.

Support student excellence

Coaching, tutoring, and other motivational and productivity-enhancing efforts raise student performance and school ranking. The more people who get excited about school improvement to reinforce student learning, the more noticeable the returns.

Spread the word

Local media, websites and real estate professionals want to praise neighborhood efforts. Make sure they know what benefits the school, its programs, and extracurricular activities offer its students.

FYI: The Fair Housing Act directs real estate professionals not to make value statements linked to local schools, but to provide interested consumers with school-evaluation resources so they may draw their own conclusions.

Bolster community choices

Sometimes effort spent improving community centers, arenas, playing fields, and other local assets can also benefit local schools. Your sports interests may lead to health and wellness contributions that provide benefits for teachers and students.

Harness expertise

Retired educators, business people, and professionals know the value of education for neighborhood students. Enlist these adults, even those without children or with grown children, to join your school improvement project.

Review relevant school ranking and evaluation systems to target key features or factors which will bring the greatest returns when they are corrected. Talk to parents, educators, politicians, and others who are already working to improve education in your area. Your opportunities for contribution will become evident to you.

TIPIf your home-buying search continues, adopt a long-term perspective and consider local schools whether or not you have or want children.

Copyright © 2018 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Make your home ownership goals a reality this season!


Now that we’ve reached back-to-school month and will soon be stepping into fall, it’s time to check the progress made during summer’s radiant selling season.

If you’re considering selling your home, strike while the iron is hot. Home prices are up 5.8% from this time last year, affording sellers a prime position as they eye their next purchase. Buyers take heart, too: new single-family homes priced between $200,000 and $250,000 are currently the fastest-growing division for home builders. That means inventory is being added at a quick clip, and buyers can relish contemporary options at an affordable price.

What’s more? The economy is enjoying robust health in the areas of employment and rising wages. This paves the way for seasoned and first-time home buyers alike to make a sound investment in today’s spirited market. 

It’s hard to part with summer, but there’s still time to make your home ownership goals a reality this season. Get in touch with us today and end this year on a high note. We’ll outline all you need to know when it comes to assessing your real estate options and opportunities in 2017 and beyond.

Alright Spring... Do Your Thing

Spring has finally sprung! A change in season means a change in the housing market, too. The biggest buying and selling periods are just up ahead, and with a host of new inventory soon to be hitting the market, spring is the ideal time in which to buy or sell your home.

For those with hopes to sell in the coming months, there is no shortage of demand out there, which has driven average prices to a thirty-one month high. If you’re a seller, this means you can rest assured that your property will garner top dollar—making the transition to your next property a financially-sound transition.

For those interested in buying a home, fear not! Not only do the spring and summer selling seasons signal imminent inventory growth, but the National Homebuilders Association has also expressed optimism for the coming months, citing a high ceiling for growth and a positive outlook for the summer months—prime building season.

All in all, April is the perfect time to get in on the ground floor of the busy upcoming months. Get in touch with a trusted realtor today and explore your options, whatever your next chapter may bring.