Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/19/2018

When youíre shopping for a home, itís essential to find a balance between being respectful of the ownerís privacy and being open enough that you ask the right questions and find out what you need to know about the home.

In todayís post, Iím going to cover all of the etiquette and best practices when it comes to viewing someoneís home that youíre interested in buying.

Basic etiquette

Before we get into the fine details of questions to ask and what areas are okay to explore, letís take a minute to discuss the basic etiquette of entering someoneís home.

First, make sure you arrive on time and ready to tour the home. Being late will give the seller and their agent the perception that you might not be a serious buyer if you arenít arriving at the showing on time.

Additionally, when you first enter the home, itís a good idea to ask if you should take off your shoes. Some homeowners have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy that they extend to guests as well as friends and family. But, at the very least, make sure that your shoes are clean so you donít track mud around the home.

In terms of cleanliness, make sure you dress appropriately for the showing and that you donít bring in food or drinks. You donít want to be dropping crumbs or spilling coffee in a home that is being kept meticulously clean for house showings.

Ask the right questions

As you are viewing the home, itís appropriate to ask questions that may come up. Feel free to ask about the age of the home and when repairs and renovations were made.

Itís also fine to ask questions about the neighborhood and town if youíre unfamiliar with the area. Traffic and noise levels are pertinent information for any serious buyer. And these are questions that will be vital to understanding the home better and whether itís a good fit for you at the moment.

Where can you snoop?

Itís a good idea to ask before opening cabinets, closets, and doors the first time. But these are all reasonable things to expect to be able to look inside of when buying a home.

Itís not a good idea, however, to look inside nightstands, dressers, and other compartments that are more private and personal.

If a homeowner or agent asks that you donít enter a room entirely, such as a bedroom, bathroom, or basement, this is a major red flag that thereís an issue with the room in question. Every room of the home should be in-bounds when it comes to viewing a home that you might someday buy.

At the end of the viewing

Once the viewing is over, itís best to simply compliment the home, offer your thanks for the tour, and head home to consider your experience.

Avoid making any sharp criticism of the home before leaving, and donít mention any negotiations or ask questions about the pricing at this point. Itís better to leave on a positive note and have these discussions in private with your family before taking your offers to the seller.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/12/2018

Sometimes, being in the hunt for a home feels like being in a race you canít win. You should craft an offer that they cant refuse in order to get ahead on the house hunt. The real estate market can be hot or cold. No matter what the market is like, having a solid offer can be very beneficial to you as a buyer. Hereís some tips for you to get the offer you make accepted:


Get Preapproved


When you get preapproved, youíre showing the seller that youíre a serious buyer. Being preapproved gives you a shorter closing time and helps you to clear any financing hurdles before you get to them.


Avoid Lowball Offers


Make sure that you check out the prices of other homes in the neighborhood. Your real estate agent can help you to do this research. Often, youíll need to offer the asking price or above if itís a sellerís market. If all the research leads you to offer somewhere in the neighborhood of the asking price for a home, youíll want to abide with that.


Too Many Contingencies Turn A Seller Off


The financing contingency is the agreement that is put forth to help a buyer get out of the deal if financing falls through. Youíll need to be sure that you actually have the cash on hand to help you if the appraisal falls short, however. While this isnít recommended, it can give you a leg up in the buying process if you know what youíre doing. 

Another thing that you might consider is waiving the inspection. This does however, remove the ability to be sure that a home is in livable condition. This is another way to give yourself an advantage in the home search process, but itís not recommended. A better way to keep the inspection and streamline the process is to shorten the inspection time by having the inspector ready to go immediately.  


Add A Clause To Increase Your Amount


You are able to add an escalation clause into a deal. This will automatically increase your deal by a predetermined amount if the seller gets more than one offer on the home. Thereís a cap on these deals, so it doesnít work like an auction. Itís a good option and it causes sellers to have to disclose the competing offers. Typically, this wouldnít be the case. The only way youíd be out of the deal is if other offers exceed your cap.


Be Smart With Negotiations


You can offer to pay closing costs and home warranties instead of the seller having to pay them. Costs associated with the closing can be extensive, so offering to pay these fees can be very appealing to the seller. 


Get Personal


Itís difficult for sellers to part with the home that they love. If you get a bit personal and write a letter or send a video message to the sellers, you may often appeal to them on another level. In the letter, you may want to address how well the sellers have taken care of the home and express your desire to continue your life in the home in the same fashion. Many times, this is really a great way to connect with your seller and give you a better chance of getting your offer accepted.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/5/2018

Attending open houses is common for property buyers in cities and towns nationwide. However, there is no set number of open houses that a homebuyer will need to attend to discover his or her dream residence. In some instances, a buyer may find the ideal home after attending his or her first open house. Or, a buyer may attend dozens of open houses and fail to find a residence that matches his or her expectations.

As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything possible to make the most of an open house. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for an open house and ensure that you can maximize the value of this event.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for an open house.

1. Create a List of Home Questions

You may have learned about a home from a listing. Yet a listing only offers a limited amount of information about a residence. And if you have additional questions about a residence, an open house provides you with a great opportunity to receive responses to your queries.

Craft a list of questions before you attend an open house Ė you'll be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can ask questions about a home and gain the insights you need to help you decide whether a residence is right for you.

2. Perform Research

Try to collect as much information as you can about a home prior to an open house. That way, you can have a good idea about what to expect when you attend this event.

Also, you may want to put together a game plan before an open house. This plan allows you to prioritize different areas of a residence that you want to check out. Plus, it may help you conduct an in-depth review of a residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you plan ahead for any open house. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you conduct your house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events in your preferred cities and towns. This housing market professional can attend an open house with you and offer immediate feedback as well. In addition, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a residence after an open house, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Let's not forget about the expert housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can offer insights into housing market patterns and trends. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you narrow your home search and ensure that you can find a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to attend an open house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can attend an open house and learn about all aspects of a residence.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 8/29/2018

As you go on the house hunt, youíre likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, youíre trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.


The Candles Are Burning Bright


You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, itís not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you donít necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.


Be Your Own Inspector


As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.


The Home Doesnít Appear Cared For


Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that youíll have large maintenance costs when a home hasnít been properly maintained by the previous owners.


Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what youíre looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.            





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Posted by Peggy Farber on 8/22/2018

When pests come into your home, thereís no creepier feeling that you may have as a homeowner. You may turn to your house insurance for assistance if the problem gets really bad. Letís say that termites have taken over your home and gotten into your walls or foundation. Maybe mice have gotten into the walls of your home, or a squirrel has caused some major issues in the attic. Whatever the problem is, you want to remedy it quickly. It might be an expensive fix no matter what, but it has to be remedied for you to continue to live comfortably in your home. 


The Truth About Homeowners Insurance


Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn't cover pest infestations. It doesnít matter if the termites have literally eaten you out of house and home, the insurance companies consider pests to be an avoidable problem. Even though you may wonder how bugs can be considered ďavoidable,Ē itís simple. The insurance company believes that regular maintenance and checking of your property can help to prevent bug infestations. This is why itís so important to take care of your property and not neglect it. 


Collateral Damage


There are a few exceptions to the rule. If your ceiling caves in and it was caused by some of the pest damage, your insurance may cover the cost of the repairs to the ceiling. They may not cover the materials that are needed to repair the ceiling itself. Insurance claims can be tricky, so youíll need to ask a lot of questions if these problems do occur for you.


What Homeowners Insurance Covers


Thereís nothing more frustrating than paying an insurance premium to find out that it doesnít actually cover anything that you need at a certain point and time. As a general rule, homeowners insurance policies cover things that are considered accidental. This would include natural disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, or high winds. If a tree falls on your home due to a windstorm, there was really no way of preventing that from happening. Your insurance would cover this. Damage that happens over an extended period, like that of a pest infestation or an aging home generally is not covered by house insurance. 


Separate Policies


Some insurance companies do offer separate policies to cover damage from certain types of pests like termites. There are several varieties of insects that cause damage to wood structures, so these policies may be more general stating that they provide ďwood destroying insectĒ coverage. If you live in an area thatís prone to termites, thereís a few options available to you including something called ďtermite bonds.Ē


Your best course of action as a homeowner is prevention. Keep up with regular maintenance around your home and inspect your home regularly for any problems that you may find.




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