Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 2/28/2021

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It may be tempting, when buying a home remotely, to jump at the first great deal that fits your checklist. But, number of beds and baths aren't everything. Location matters, too. So does the school district if you have school-age children. Don't be afraid to delve deeply into a property that you're thinking of buying sight unseen, because failure to do so could lead to some serious buyer's remorse. Here's the checklist of items to cover and questions to ask before you buy a home long-distance. 

Neighborhood Crime Statistics

Sites such as ADT.com and Cityrating.com can help you learn about crime rates in your potential new neighborhood. The local police department or sheriff's office is a good resource, too. All are easy to find online once you know the address of the home or county in which it's located. Find registered sex offenders living nearby and whether your new neighbor has a collar for burglary. 

Costs of Getting There

If you're searching remotely for homes that are close to your new job location, ask your employer about job relocation assistance. Sometimes employers have packages in place to help with the logistics involved in relocating for work. A package might include financial assistance for multiple items, including:

  • Costs associated with moving companies.
  • Costs associated with storage facilities.
  • Cost to rent or own a home in the new location.
  • Costs associated with selling your existing home.
  • Having financial help to get you and your family settled in before your first day of work at your new job is a great perk. It goes a long way toward alleviating the stress of relocation. 

    HOA Restrictions

    Homeowner's Associations can be beneficial in keeping housing values steady in your target area, but they can be costly, as well as restrictive. Is your new home governed by an HOA? If so, expect to pay monthly dues, and read up on the restrictions before you commit. If you plan to change the color or layout of your new home, you may have strict guidelines you're required to follow. 

    Reputation of the Local Schools

    Parents of school-age children should also be concerned with the school district they're moving into. Your real estate agent should be a good resource for the best schools in the area, but it never hurts to Google. The best schools have a low student-to-teacher ratio, strong test scores compared with the rest of the state and plenty of support programs in place for students and parents.

    A little homework done from the comfort of your home office can help you score the remote home purchase of your dreams. Don't be afraid to play investigator throughout your new target neighborhood. 




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    Posted by Thomas Murphy on 1/10/2021

    After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

    At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

    A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

    Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

    1. What did the home inspection reveal?

    A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

    Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

    Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

    Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

    2. Are there major home issues?

    As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

    For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

    On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

    If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

    3. What should I do next?

    An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

    Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

    If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

    Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.




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    Posted by Thomas Murphy on 1/3/2021

    Ready to submit an offer on a house? Not so fast. First, you'll want to consider a few key questions, including:

    1. Can I afford to buy a house?

    If you find a house you like, make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. By doing so, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming problems down the line.

    Ultimately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a homebuyer who is ready to submit an offer on a home.

    With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will understand exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. As a result, this homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.

    2. Should I submit a "lowball" offer?

    For many homebuyers, it may seem like a good idea to submit a "lowball" offer on a house. But doing so may be problematic for a number of reasons.

    If you submit a lowball proposal, a home seller is unlikely to take your bid seriously. As such, this home seller may dismiss your offer and move on to other proposals quickly.

    In addition, a lowball offer may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

    When you locate the perfect residence, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you submit a fair proposal that meets or exceeds a home seller's expectations, you can avoid the risk of losing your dream house to a rival homebuyer.

    3. How much should I offer for a residence?

    We've already established that a lowball offer is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Now, you'll just need to determine what differentiates a fair proposal from a lowball one.

    A fair proposal accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller. It should be based on the current state of the housing market as well as the condition of a home.

    For instance, if you're operating in a buyer's market, there is likely to be a broad assortment of homes available. This means a home seller may need to lower his or her expectations due to the sheer volume of quality residences currently on the market.

    Don't forget to study the prices of recently sold homes in a particular city or town too. This housing market data will help you better understand how a residence you're considering stacks up against comparable houses so you can submit an appropriate offer.

    4. Do I need a real estate agent?

    A real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a home, and for good reason. This real estate professional can help you prepare an offer and will negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

    Hire a real estate agent before you submit an offer on a house you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can secure a great house at a price that fits your budget.




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    Posted by Thomas Murphy on 12/6/2020

    The amount of money you will need to ensure you can purchase a house varies based on a number of factors. For example, if you want to purchase a house in a big city, you may need to save more money than you likely would require to buy a residence in a small town. Meanwhile, your decision to choose a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage or vice-versa can impact your monthly housing costs. And let's not forget about the costs of home utilities like electricity and water, either.

    Ultimately, it helps to put together a homebuying budget before you embark on a house search. Because if you know how much money you have at your disposal, you can map out your house search accordingly. And as a result, you can minimize the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence.

    Let's now take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying budget.

    1. Evaluate Your Current Expenses

    An in-depth assessment of your current monthly expenses is key. If you conduct an expense evaluation, you can find out how much you spend on various must-haves and wants. You then can take steps to reduce your monthly expenses and increase your savings for a new home.

    It also never hurts to consult with a financial planner. If you have a financial planner at your side, you can gain expert insights to help you evaluate your current expenses. Plus, you can work with a financial planner to determine the best course of action so you can eventually buy your dream residence.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions and explore your mortgage options you will be happy you did. If you assess your mortgage options closely, you can find one that complements your finances. And once you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house.

    Generally, it is beneficial to meet with as many banks and credit unions as you can. If you consult with myriad lenders, you can receive extensive insights into many mortgage options. Best of all, you will be better equipped than ever before to find the lowest-possible interest rate on a mortgage.

    3. Consider Your Down Payment Options

    The down payment required for a home purchase varies, but it commonly ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent of a house's total price. If you account for a down payment as you craft a homebuying budget, you can use this total to plan ahead for the property buying journey.

    Lastly, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to launch a home search. In addition to helping you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with potential lenders and offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey.

    Ready to pursue a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you create a successful homebuying budget.




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    Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/22/2020

     Photo by Alexander Zvir from Pexels

    Those who currently own a home may consider investing in a second home for income purposes. However, it is important to understand you may have hurdles to overcome when searching for a mortgage or obtaining homeowners insurance. Here are some of the most significant differences between buying an investment property and a primary residence.

    Obtaining a Mortgage

    In nearly all cases, mortgage rates for investment properties are higher than when you buy a primary residence. The reason for this is that lenders tend to view an investment property as a riskier loan than a loan provided for an owner-occupied property. Lenders may also impose more stringent requirements on debt-to-income ratios and credit scoring.

    The news is not all bad because while a lender may have stricter debt-to-income requirements, a portion of your anticipated rental income may help offset the change.  Not all lenders will include potential rental income, but it is worth asking about. If your mortgage lender is willing to use the rental you expect to collect as part of your income it is likely they will use a percentage of the rent, less potential repair costs, and vacancy costs.

    Down Payment Requirements

    Typically, if you are purchasing an investment property, the lender will require you to make a larger down payment. In many cases, you may be required to put down as much as 25 percent of the purchase price. The good news is that unlike with the purchase of a primary residence, you may be able to borrow the down payment. However, this will have an impact on your debt to income ratio because you will be paying another loan.

    Greater Reserve Requirements

    Your mortgage lender may have a reserve requirement when you purchase a primary residence. Reserves are generally to ensure you have an emergency fund for things like unexpected repairs. When you seek financing for an investment property your mortgage lender may require you to have a larger reserve in case your rental income decreases unexpectedly.

    Potential Tax Consequences

    If you are considering an investment property, you should also understand there are certain tax benefits and drawbacks. Unlike a primary residence, you will have to claim the income generated from the property. You may also get some important tax breaks so it is a good idea to talk to a tax specialist about tax issues you may face.

    If you are considering investment property as a means of generating additional income and building future equity, make sure you understand the hurdles you may face. Your real estate agent can help you learn the rental history of the property, neighborhood details, and other information you should know before making this important decision.




    Tags: buyer tips   Investing   homeowner  
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