“Tracy Shaffer was such a pleasure to work with. I am a young, single professional, so wading into these rough real estate waters by myself was ulcer inducing. Tracy told me that she was here to balance me out. A real estate decision is both a strongly personal and a strongly financial decision, and that if I tip one way too much, she would make sure I was also incorporating the other side. She didn’t want me to fall in love with a home I couldn’t afford or buy a home that I didn’t love simply because it was affordable. Tracy helped me find a property that got me both, a beautiful duplex in Whittier that fits me to a T and will be a great investment. She was not afraid to give me hard truths, but was also supportive and informative through all of my first-time home buyer questions. We closed on the house on a relatively quick timeline, and Tracy was able to keep the myriad of pieces on track to hit our closing day with only smiles and handshakes all around. I highly recommend working with Tracy.” – M.E. Smith
Tag Archive for: first time home buyer
I hear the question “Is it still a good time to buy a house in Denver?” quite often, as potential home buyers wonder whether they’ve missed the market. My answer is that yes, it’s still a good time to buy a house in Denver, though it’s going to take resilience, and let me tell you why. Even though the dream of getting a screaming deal on a foreclosure got on the bus and left the depot, the strength of today’s market and home affordability show that buying a house in Denver is still a great idea.
It looked for a moment that the Denver Real Estate Market was slowing down toward the end of the summer and into fall, but what I’m seeing now, we still have a very strong market! Showing activity is high meaning that buyers are out there looking, and inventory as of January 1 was still very, very low at one month of inventory [meaning if no other homes came on the market it would only take a month to sell them ALL].
Buyers will need to be prepared to pull the trigger in this tight market; pre-qualified, well qualified and ready to present a strong offer to win in the ever-so-common bidding wars. This can mean a number of things I’d be glad to go over with you specifically. Many Buyers will conduct a home inspection solely for informational purposes without asking the Seller to repair or credit for inspection items. This relieves the Seller of the anxiety of a major or costly issue coming up and being asked to pay for it, and though the Buyer may feel similar anxiety over having to assume a house “AS-IS” they can, if done properly, still terminate the contract should the home prove unsatisfactory. Reasonable buyers, sellers and their agents would rather work out a fair negotiation than lose a good contract, even with this stipulation. Another strategy I’ve seen applied is for the buyer to offer to make up some or all of any difference between the contract purchase price and the appraised value of the home should it come in low. As bidding wars force prices up, last month’s comps may not provide the appraiser with enough information to value at contract price, or the home might have exceeded current market value. The market is moving so fast, many buyers would rather kick in some extra cash than go back out looking once they’ve found and been accepted on a home they love. Of course, you’ll have to have the cash to do this so a bit of planning might be in order if you decide to employ this.
The good news for you Buyers is that real estate still offers great wealth building potential. Using standard assumptions (5% annual appreciation), a home purchased today for $250,000 with a 10% down payment and a 4.5% interest rate can produce about $200,000 in equity in a decade! Those of you who are renting may want to think seriously about investing in yourselves. Even if you don’t have a full 10% for the down, there’s still $$$ to be made.
There are two myths in real estate that are not holding up in today’s Denver market. One is that real estate runs in seven year cycles; statistics show the last up-swing lasted for seventeen, plenty of time to build equity. The second myth is that condos are the last to rise in value and the first to tank. Right now we are seeing condominium values appreciating similarly to single homes. Overall home affordability remains attractive when you factor in interest rates, home prices and average rents (up 40% over the past five years). A very good time to buy, but before you do I advise investing in some good running shoes.
As the clock ticks toward year’s end, it’s time to review the 2015 real estate market.
When someone asks me how the real estate market is, the cocktail party answer is that it’s been a very pleasing 12 months and future looks bright and shiny. Because the economic news is good our Denver Metro real estate market is projected to stay strong but not overheat. I’ll share some of the metrics I use to evaluate the market and understand it better, describing what 2015 looked like and where I think we’re headed.
Market strength–2015 was an extremely strong seller’s market. The market strength peaked in the spring when the bottom dropped out of our inventory and multiple offers were all the rage. Frustrating for buyers who felt they had to give away so much to stay competitive, the good news is that the market reacted appropriately and became more balanced as the year progressed. With prices on the rise, sellers were motivated to sell as we approached the fall so the market cooled with the start of school and the weather. It is still a strong seller’s market, but far more in balance. I expect 2016 to continue along this line and see no sign of a major imbalance that could lead to any sort of ugly peak and crash. Sellers should get a good price for their homes and replacement properties should not be as hard to find.
Buyers– Real estate website Trulia says that buying an average home in Denver is a whopping 38 percent cheaper than renting a home! For the average home, the interest rate would have to skyrocket to 11 percent for renting to become cheaper than buying, meaning that it is currently MUCH more affordable to buy than to rent. Even with current prices and current rents, interest rates would have to nearly triple to make renting more affordable than owning. (Call me if you want to talk about this.)
Sellers-Can’t say this enough: the most important thing to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. This includes furniture. You may have learned to live with that cherished armchair stuffed into the corner but a professional stager will often times whisk away half of your furniture. The house looks so much bigger for it, leaving space for a buyer couple and their agent to tour the home without bumping into each other, and space for their imaginations to make it their own. You don’t have to go “Stager drastic” but take a hard look, be objective, and see what you can live without. Painting always pays for itself and statistics show that springing for a staging company is often a good investment.
Rental Vacancies– The rental market is stronger than it has ever been in metro Denver. The vacancy rate for 1- to 4-unit properties is an extremely low 2 percent. That’s a drop from the already 4.7% we’d been experiencing for the past few years. On top of this, rents are rising faster than ever, up 30% in the past three years. With rents equaling a mortgage payment, we’re seeing more renters making the decision to buy. Why live waiting for another rent increase, tough competition and another application process without building any equity? Many homeowners who lost their homes in the downturn and have been renting, are becoming eligible to purchase once again. This is great news for the market and will certainly lead to more sales in 2016, though the influx of buyers insures a continuing seller’s market.
Interest rates– No one knows exactly what interest rates will do in the future but my best guess is that they may rise a little in 2016, but only a little. Remember that the Federal Reserve has control over only short-term, not long-term interest rates. Even if the Fed raises rates, that doesn’t directly affect the 30-year home buyer interest rate you are concerned with. Long-term interest rates are affected by the bond market (as bond prices decrease, interest rates increase) which, frankly, is not predictable. Understand though that interest rates are at near 50-year lows so they are highly unlikely to fall any further. All we know for sure is that someday they will go up.
The Economy– No matter what you may hear in the months leading up to the election (places hands over ears), right now the metro Denver economy is very strong. This is fueling our terrific real estate market and the rising population of our city. The unemployment rate is extremely low, about 3.5 percent. Inflation will stay in the range of 1-2 percent, our population is rising at a rate of 50,000 people/year and consumer confidence continues to rise. Nothing can be better for the housing market than a strong and steady economy.
Mortgage -The single most important number for a home buyer is their FICO score. For good or bad, your FICO plays a major role in your ability to finance your home purchase. Your credit score is a snapshot taken by the three leading credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, to help lenders determine what sort of credit risk you are. Your FICO is a number between 300 and 850 and is calculated by a complex algorithm assessing your past credit history. Most home lenders will consider a score over 700 to be excellent while scores below 600 are considered poor. The better the score the more credit will be extended, at better terms, with a lower interest rate. The best credit terms are extended to consumers with scores above 740. Therefore, it’s critical to understand what your FICO is and what you can do to improve your score. When I work with buyers I help them understand the factors affecting their score so they can work to improve them. I can’t think of a better investment in your future than to spend a little time working on your FICO score.
Here are a few tips I give my clients:
1.Don’t max out your cards, try to keep them under 50% of available credit. Running high balances can severely impact your FICO.
2.Continue paying your bills on time.
3.Don’t apply for new credit or cancel an old card because length of credit helps.
4.Pay down high balances.
5.Dispute and resolve any inaccurate items in your credit report.
6.Invest in a credit monitoring company to track the changes to your score.
I’m frequently asked where the real estate market is headed and when we will get back to some kind of equilibrium. The truth is it’s extremely difficult to accurately predict the future but here’s what I know: Right now we are experiencing one of the strongest seller’s markets in our history and we’re a full six and a half years into this market recovery. The reason is simple: we have much more demand for homes (buyers) than we have supply of homes (sellers). What’s fascinating to watch is the dynamic build on itself. It looks something like this:
1.Buyers make offers on homes and continue to lose out to higher offers.
2.Buyers get increasingly frustrated and begin to get more aggressive with their offers.
3.The momentum builds on itself until we see what is occurring today, with multiple offers on a propertythe norm rather than the exception.
4.The multiple offer dynamic almost always bids prices higher than the original asking price.
5.The buyers that lose the bid learn from the experience and become more aggressive on their next offer.
6.Then back to Step 1, until the buyer bids high enough on a property to finally get an offer accepted.
The result of course is the tremendously strong seller’s market we have experienced for the past several years. And this seller’s market is not going to change any time soon, at least not until we get back to some kind of balance in the market between buyers and sellers. I don’t see that happening for at least several more years. In the meantime, if you’ve thought about selling your home, now might be a great time to find out what the market is like in your neighborhood and see what your home is worth. It’s almost certainly worth more than it was just a few years ago. Drop me a line and I’ll put together a professional Competitive Market Analysis on your home so you have the data to make the right decision.
Another question my potential sellers often ask is if they sell today, can they find a replacement home in time to move? In a market like ours this is a very good question. Fortunately, there are a number of things savvy sellers can do to take advantage of the seller’s market and put themselves in a good position when looking for their replacement home.
Here are a few:
1.First and foremost, work with an experienced agent to write a strong, professional offer on the home you want to buy. In a dramatically competitive market like we have now, weak, poorly written, unprofessional, and bad offers just aren’t taken seriously. There is both an art and a science to writing a strong offer. Call me and I’ll explain more about how to write an offer that has a great chance of getting accepted.
2.Add a contingency clause to your contract to buy another home. The clause would say that you will close on the home you are purchasing once your own home sells. The problem with this is that it somewhat weakens your offer as many sellers don’t want to accept a contingency when they can sell quickly to the next buyer. But occasionally we do run across a seller that is in no hurry and is happy to wait for the buyer’s home to sell.
3.Lease the home you just sold from the buyer for a period of time while you are looking for your new home (this is called a lease back). Some buyers do not want or are not able to move into their new home immediately and this permits them to earn rent from you for the period of time you are shopping for your next purchase, a win-win situation. 4.Look into a new construction purchase. Builders are building as fast as they can in this market to keep up with demand and there may be inventory of completed or soon-to-be-completed homes that could suit you. 5.Arrange to stay with family or move into short-term rental housing until you find your next home. While not a perfect solution I believe it’s far better to inconvenience yourself for a short period of time than to settle for anything less than your dream home!
“Denver apartment rents rising three times the national average”
This was the Denver Business Journal’s Sept. 2 headline. Denver rents have increased another 7 percent in the past year, which is three times the national average of 2.3 percent. And given the continued lack of rental inventory, rents are expected to continue increasing at a strong pace. Sooooooo…. 1.If you’re a renter it might be time to consider looking into buying a home to get out of the rental market madness! 2.If you’ve ever thought about buying a rental as a long-term investment now might be the time to learn how to purchase a safe, cashflowing property. Interest rates are still near record lows and rents havenever been higher, a wonderful combination for any real estate investor.
Mortgage rates continue to hover at near-record lows. For homeowners looking to upgrade to a larger, better home, low rates combined with low home inventory are making this a great time to upgrade to a larger home with very nearly the same monthly payment. We have several recent examples of clients selling their current homes and getting into a $40,000 – $50,000 more expensive home with the exact same monthly payment. Please give me a call or send me and e-mail and I’ll do a free analysis to see if this might be a good scenario for you to take advantage of.
What’s new in the Denver Real Estate Market?
The question I’m asked all the time by friends, colleagues and clients who are still renting is whether it’s too late to buy a home. “Are we heading for a big downturn?” and “Are we too deep in the market cycle to buy?” they wonder. For those of you who read my newsletter and know me well the following will sound familiar but it bears repeating: timing the real estate market perfectly is extremely difficult (maybe even impossible) and those who try usually fail. So don’t try to time the market. Instead, look at factors like the ones below to see if homeownership is right for you.
1. You should buy a home when you feel it’s the right time in your life to do so. Don’t try to time the market, instead time your life. Are you getting married? Sick of paying skyrocketing rents? Looking for a bigger place for you and your family? Want your own backyard for the kids to play in? Want to be part of a neighborhood community? Plan on staying in one place for a number of years? Want to build long-term wealth? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself when considering whether you want to own a home. To the extent you say yes, home ownership might be the answer for you.
One important stat to keep in mind is that the average rental household in the U.S. has a total net worth of only $5,500. In contrast, the average homeowner has a net worth of $195,500 — that’s 36 times those who rent! Over the past 15 years, this multiple has ranged from as low as 31 times to as high as 46 times the net worth of renters. You don’t want to try to time the market, but over the long term home ownership is the tried and true path to wealth accumulation and financial security. (So is owning rental property, by the way. Call me if you’d like to learn more about that as well.)
2. Interest rates remain at record lows but this can’t last forever. No one knows when they’re going to rise (remember, you can’t time the market!), but rise they will at some point in the future. Though home prices have gone up the past several years, low interest rates continue to make homes relatively affordable (especially compared to renting). Once interest rates do rise the window of home ownership affordability will truly begin to close for a lot of potential buyers and they will be sorry they didn’t act when interest rates were at 50-year lows.
To illustrate the numbers, assume you are purchasing a $210,000 home with a 5 percent down payment. The Principle + Interest payment at 4 percent interest would be $952 per month. Just a 1 percent interest rate increase to 5 percent would result in a payment of $1,070 per month for a total increase of $128/month and $1,416/year. Now assume that rates tick up to 6 percent. That increase would result in a 21 percent increase in payments from $952 to $1,196. Where you really see the effect of these increases is when you hold the property for the full 30 years. On a $200,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that increases from 4-5 percent, the borrower who obtains the 5 percent loan would pay an additional $42,772 in extra interest as opposed to the borrower who paid just 4 percent interest. That’s 21.4 percent of the total loan amount! This is why a lot of folks who don’t purchase a home while interest rates are near record lows are going to regret it down the road.
3. The main reason the average home owner has so much more personal wealth than the average condo owner is that over time, homes appreciate in value. Over the past 44 years, homes in metro Denver appreciated 6 percent per year, about 1 percent above the inflation rate. If you buy a $200,000 home, you can expect over the long term its value to rise about 6 percent every year. This means you’d make $12,000 in appreciation the first year, an additional $12,720 the second year, another $13,483 in the third year, and on and on. It’s that simple. So if you want to build wealth, your best bet may be to take advantage of these numbers and buy a home for the long term. I can help you do this. Call me and let me show you how.
If you’re my client, we’ve shopped, you’ve fallen in love, made your offer, had it accepted and gone under contract. Now you’re in the “discovery” stage” where you gather important information: title work, disclosures, surveys, and you schedule your home inspection. Now what?
A home inspection is one of the most important steps in the process, it’s the time then we take that silk purse and try to find the sow’s ear. Part ‘honey-do’ list, part ‘O.M.G. what have I done?’ the home inspection reveals and/or conceals just what you’re getting yourselves into. The house is everything you’ve ever wanted, and it’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Shouldn’t we make sure it is all that?
I have a few good home inspection companies I rely on, have vetted and have found them thorough, honest and knowledgeable. There are many things your home inspection will show you and many that it won’t. Some things are minor, deferred maintenance and others are worth major consideration. Always best to hire a professional and ask your Realtor (that’d be me ;-)) for their recommendation. No matter how much you may love them, having a “friend who knows a lot about houses” take a look at it could be the end of a great relationship. Pay for the pro, it is money well spent.
Here’s what your standard inspection will show:
Structural Elements- Construction of walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation. Though inspectors are not usually structural engineers, their expert training gives them a good eye for when you may want to call one. Many times the crack you’re freaking out over is pretty normal to a resale home.
Exterior Evaluation- How does the siding, brick or stucco look? Does the grading flow toward or away from the house? Landscaping, elevation, drainage, driveways, fences, sidewalks, fascia, eaves, trim, doors, windows, lights and exterior receptacles—are they all doing what they’re supposed to be doing?
Roof and Attic- A visual inspection of the roof and attic will give you a good idea if they are framed and ventilated, insulated, or in need of repair. Though not a roofing specialist, your inspection should be able to tell the approximate age of the roof and how long you might expect it to last. If there is any doubt, I suggest having a qualified roofer come out and do an independent inspection to see if the roof can be guaranteed through certification.
Plumbing- Identification and condition of pipe materials used for potable, drain, waste and vent pipes. Toilets, showers, sinks, faucets and traps, water pressure and hot water heater will be included.
Systems – Your furnace, air conditioning, duct work, chimney and fireplace will be checked to insure they are in good working order.
Electrical- Main panel, circuit breakers, types of wiring, outlet grounding, GFCI outlets, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.
Appliances-Dishwasher, refrigerator, stove/range/oven, built-in microwaves, garbage disposal, trash compactors, washing machine and dryer will be checked.
Garage- Slab, walls, ceiling, vents, entry, firewall, garage door, openers, lights, receptacles, exterior, windows and roof.
Although I’ve had inspectors note the possible presence of mold, termites, evidence of pests, or asbestos these, along with a sewer scope, require assessment by specialists and do not fall within the scope of your home inspection. Radon detection can be done by the inspector who installs a device to stay in the home for 24-48 hours at an additional cost.
My home inspectors provide my clients with a Home Inspection Checklist which categorizes items needing service and the urgency in doing so.
The serious problems are:
Any issue that pertains to health and safety; gas leaks, CO2 levels, non-functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, radon mitigation, sewer cracks or breaks.
Also for consideration are the big ticket items: old or leaking roofs or those which cannot be certified, furnace and A/C malfunctions, foundation deficiencies and moisture intrusion or drainage issues.
Who should pay for what?
Home Inspection Checklist Items Sellers Should Fix would include those listed above. There are many instances when it is wise for the buyer to take responsibility for the repairs themselves and ask the sellers for a credit or sales price reduction. Sellers, understandably, want to maximize their profits an may approach repairs from an economical perspective where you might go the extra mile, especially if you prefer a mid-high grade brand. Buyers and sellers might want to consult with an expert to get an estimate for repairs and all work should be done by a licensed contractor or technician. Make sure your agent is specific when responding to the inspection. If your request is vague, there is more room for interpretation of a repair.
Because for some people, duct tape doesn’t cut it.
I object! Often the process of buying or selling a home is so emotional, so stressful, that our every fear is stirred up. That’s why when buying or selling a home, the home inspection is critical. Your home inspection can put you at ease, whether you are purchasing a home you want to feel good about or selling a home you want to feel is safe for the new owner. The home inspection and the resulting INSPECTION OBJECTION and RESOLUTION can be fine points of the negotiation. Of course, the sellers don’t want to reduce their proceeds and the buyers don’t want to take on the extra expense of repairs. So, where’s the middle ground?
Let’s start with a few basic questions and let the answers guide us to our home inspection answers.
To the Sellers:
1. How motivated are you to sell your home at this time, with these buyers, under the terms of the contract?
2. What is your goal in selling your house? And what effect does this sale have on your life right now? On your future?
3. If I could tell you that the goal you want in question #2 would cost you X amount of dollars, would that seem like a fair price?
4. Is the cost of the repair(s) more or less than the cost of another month, maybe two, of your mortgage payment?
To the Buyers:
1. How would you feel if you let this house go?
2. Are the repairs immediate or can they be reasonably deferred?
3. How many things are you asking the Sellers to repair or credit for? I mean, it’s one thing to ask them to replace the faulty old Zinsco electrical panel or install radon mitigation, quite another to ask for a cracked plastic outlet cover to be changed.
4. Do you feel you are safe in the house without the repairs?
It’s that last question that is the most important. Are the requested repairs, replacements or credit for such, necessary to provide or protect the health and safety of the home buyer? This is where I draw the line. If the home inspection reveals something that would cause any reasonable buyer to feel unsafe they might need to walk away from the transaction. Even if you, Mr. and Mrs. Seller have lived with it for 20 years and nothing has happened, you might as well buck up and agree to make the repairs. You’ll have to disclose the issue to the next buyer if you lose this contract now that you know about it, so the problem isn’t going away.
If the buyers have reasonable expectations of the home’s condition based on its age and understand the responsibilities of home ownership, then health & safety should be your guide. That “honey-do list” the Inspector gave you? That would be yours, not the sellers, but those hot wires or the recalled electrical panel? Definitely calls for the experts. When both parties move away from all emotional or economic considerations and apply fair and equitable logic, the questions answer themselves. Logic, who knew?
Now… back to my clients and that electrical panel.
By now you know the Denver real estate market has bounced back, now let’s look at it by the record-setting numbers.
At the end of 2013 there were:
7,275 homes for sale, (down 6%).
67,550 new listings came on the market for the year, (up 12%).
67,429 homes went under contract (↑20%)
54,024 homes closed (up 17%)
The average days on market was 58 days (↓25%)
Average sold price was $306,910 (↑10%) and closed dollar volume was $16.6 Billion (↑29%). If this sounds like Realtor crack, it is.
But what does it mean for you?
1. Did ya take a look at that map? Go ahead, click on it. Remember when there was a whole lot of pink and red, lots of yellow…? I do. Now the map is predominantly green and the key shows you how much each neighborhood has improved over last year.
(If you’d like more detail about your own neighborhood, shoot me an email.)
Metrolist expert Gary Bauer observes it this way:
The inventory of active listings, homes available for sale, started a downward trend in 2011, which continued through 2013. In March, 2013, the inventory of active listings was 6,682 homes, an all time low. Active Listings continues to be a primary sustainability concern for the home market.
Home affordability declined due to median home price increases. The month’s supply of inventory started and finished the year at 2 months.
Once again, rental rates continue an upward trend and rental availability continues to decline. With declining distressed properties, foreclosures and REO, at less than 10% of the market and low active listings, new home builders will again be an alternate in the housing market. The largest number of Single Family and Condo properties sold in price range of $100,000 to $499,999 for 2013. The largest number of Single Family homes sold in the price range of $200,000 to $299,999. The largest number of Condo homes sold in the price range of $100,000 to $199,999.
Million dollar plus homes closed/sold were up 16% when comparing 2013 versus 2012. Million dollar plus home closings accounted for $1.5 Billion of the $16.6 Billion total 2013 volume.
Mortgage interest rates started to increase and then fluctuated downward to later increase again during the year, with an overall increase of approximately 1%.
And that’s good news for all of us!
New listing in Denvers HOT, HOT, HOT WHITTIER neighborhood! Close to everything, the block is on fire with homes going in the 500s, this half-duplex has recent comps above 200. The perfect solution for the renter who wants to build equity or those who want an alternative to condo living with a sweet little back yard for your tomatoes or your ‘doodle’. 2438 Gilpin will be open Saturday 12-4.
If you’re like me, you suffer buyer’s remorse any time you get a new pair of jeans. So what happens when you plunk down a quarter, half or million dollars for a house? Here are some great “homeopathic” remedies to help you avoid (or reverse) that bitter pill.
1. Before you start, imagine your life after you close the deal & move in. What are you trying to accomplish? What lifestyle are you creating by this move and how does it change your daily life? Write down everything that is good and what is changed, including the financial aspect. Write down your wants, needs, musts and deal makers/breakers. The more detailed you are, the more you will have something to compare your actual house to. Does your dream house a reasonable match to these things?
2. Ask yourself “How does this decision make me feel?” This is a highly emotional process, a decision made with head and heart. Approaching it with only reason or emotion might land you somewhere you don’t want to be. Check in with yourself about how the idea of living in a particular home makes you feel. Now ask yourself how you’ll feel when the mortgage is due or the water heater breaks. (I can feel really good about those jeans until I get my Visa bill.)
3. Don’t get caught up in the worry. If you hated renting and can’t wait to be a homeowner, take care of the details (like turning in your paperwork to your lender, finding homeowners insurance, etc.) and relax into the process. If you have a calm real estate agent*, that should rub off on the whole transaction. It is natural to be nervous and “high-center” as you move from contract to close, so practice gratitude. Stay in the remembrance that you are fortunate enough to own your own place on this earth and say lots of thank yous, it really helps. [*Don’t let my vivacious exterior fool you, I’m very calm under pressure.]
4. Stay grounded in reality. Getting lost in the illusory great deal you could have gotten last year doesn’t help you close the good deal you have today. Remember, home-prices are rising but interest rates are still at historic lows and that’s where your real savings lie.
5. Remember Rule #1: There are no stupid questions in real estate. If something doesn’t look right, feel right or seem right on your contract, with the inspection, or you don’t understand the loan paperwork ASK! Then ask again and keep asking, until you understand or it’s fixed. One thing real estate pros can forget is that it maybe perfectly clear to someone who does this all day long, but not for the one who’s doing it once.
6. If you’re planning to remodel, live there for a few months before you go all HGTV on yourself. Unless you know exactly what’s up and you can’t move in until the reno is done, I suggest habitation prior to rehabilitation.
7. Run your numbers and take responsibility for them. Over-spending on your home is as fashionable as acid wash jeans and a scrunchy. Just because I met George Clooney, doesn’t mean he wants to marry me. The best counsel is to find out the most you qualify for and then buy what your monthly payment says is comfortable.
8. If you still have post-purchase regret, try to resolve it systematically. Make a list of what drives you nuts and what you can change and work to change those things. Go back to the list you made in step one, the gratitude you had in step 3… If that doesn’t help, go buy a great pair of jeans. You never know when Clooney’s coming round the corner.