Posted by Peggy Farber on 7/6/2016

There are so many things to think of when buying a home. It can be difficult to think of everything when you are house shopping. When you tour potential homes it can be easy to get caught up in things that may not be as important after you move in like storage, parking, and privacy. When home shopping you should make a checklist of the things you must have in a home so you don't get caught up in the new granite countertops or the beautifully decorated master bedroom. Think function over style when making a buying decision. Here are some things you may want to consider putting on your must-have list. Storage When walking through a home make sure to make note of the amount of storage. A good staging job can disguise a home with too little storage. Imagine the home with no furniture and picture your furniture and belongings in place. If you are seriously interested in the home bring a sketch pad and measure the rooms and draw a quick sketch of walls, doors, windows and closets. Location Consider the location of the home to places you frequently travel. You may only be a few miles from the store or work but what is the commute like? Do a practice run at rush hour from the home to your work. If you are moving near public transportation give that a try too. Make sure to try the commute both ways. Enough Power and Water Imagine waking up the first morning in your new home and finding out the water pressure is barely enough for a shower or the water gets cold half way through.  It is important to determine if the plumbing and wiring can accommodate your lifestyle. Check the size of the hot water tank and run a few plumbing items at a time to check the water pressure. Talk to your home inspector about the electrical system. Make sure the home inspector knows the kinds of electrical equipment you run and the number of people that will be living in the home. Privacy Many buyers overlook privacy until it's too late. Try to spend some time in the house. Look out the bathroom and bedroom windows and test what you see. Do a walk-through of the home and pretend to go through your day. Sit in the back yard and on the deck to see and listen to the neighbors.




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Posted by Peggy Farber on 5/11/2016

Owning your own house or apartment is a gratifying experience, as you not only have a place you can call home, but you also have the freedom to live the way you choose once you enter your domain. However, to find a home that can truly make you happy, there are a few points that you should consider beforehand. The first point to think about is the neighborhood (where your home will be located). This is important, because you need to feel that the area you are living in will be safe from crime, and that it will also be easy to commute to work on a daily basis. In the end, you do not want to spend too much time traveling in the evenings or in the mornings, as this can only make life more difficult. The next point to think about is how much space you want, as well as how many responsibilities you are willing to put up with. In other words, you could either choose to find a home that has a huge garden and a swimming pool, which is perfect if you enjoy gardening and going out for a swim, or, you could decide to do away with these extra bells and whistles if you hate gardening and do not want to spend time cleaning the pool. In other words, you want a home that you can truly feel comfortable living in, as this in turn will ensure that you can keep your life as stress free as possible. Price is always important, and you want to make sure you look for a home that you can afford. There are a lot of other expenses you have to think about, cable TV, insurance, taxes, telephone, heat, electric, maintenance etc. So make sure you factor all of these into your monthly budget. You do not want to be house poor and buying a home that you may fall in love with can in the end be very stressful if you are struggling to pay for it every month. Look for a home at a good value and that may need some cosmetic fix ups and grow into the home with home improvements down the road. This will bring value to your home and in turn be a good invest when you go to sell the home.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 2/24/2016

Some people think that bigger is better even when it comes to buying a home. Before you buy the biggest house your budget allows you may want to consider if the size of the home is what will make you a happy homeowner. Besides the size of the home there are many other factors to consider, here are a few things you may want to think about when buying: Your Commute Often times a bigger home is one that has a longer commute. So would you choose a bigger home over a shorter commute? When considering a longer commute most home buyers significantly underestimate the negatives of a long commute like high stress levels, poorer health, and less active social lives.  Swiss economists, Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer coined what they call “the commuters paradox”. They found that someone with a one-hour commute must earn 40% more money than someone who walks to work to be as satisfied with life. Community Another thing that can affect buyer satisfaction is the quality of a surrounding community Think about the community your home would be in. Is it a subdivision? Do you have to drive to get places? How far away are neighbors or stores? Walkable communities have more active residents, they are better for the environment and help us save money too. Studies have shown residents of a walkable neighborhood on average weigh 6 to 10 pounds less than someone in a car-dependent one. Walkable neighborhoods also give us more opportunities for social interaction. The more neighbors walk around the more involved they are in the community. Ultimately the more community involvement the happier people are.        





Posted by Peggy Farber on 12/30/2015

When buying a home and shopping for a mortgage there are lots of new and unknown terms and one of those is often PMI. What is PMI? PMI stands for private mortgage insurance and chances are if you are first-time buyer you will have to pay it. First things first, PMI is for the lender, not for you. Typically, homebuyers who put down less than 20 percent on their homes are required to pay private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender in the event that you default on the loan. Mortgage insurance requirements vary by loan type and are not inevitable. Different loan types will have different mortgage insurance requirements. You will want to shop around because some loans have no PMI requirements at all. If your loan has PMI some lenders may offer something called “lender paid mortgage insurance” in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate. Here are some typical loans and the PMI requirements: FHA loans: Require mortgage insurance to be paid up front and monthly if equity in the home is less than 20 percent. VA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. USDA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. Conventional loans: Require mortgage insurance if equity is less than 20 percent. If you have to pay mortgage insurance you are not stuck with it forever. Once you reach an equity position of 20 percent or more you will be able to stop making mortgage insurance payments.  When you reach this position notify your lender, who will send you information on what is required for your specific loan program to get rid of mortgage insurance payments.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 11/11/2015

You've been thinking about buying your first home and it is a very big decision. It is typically not a decision you make overnight instead you need to take the time prepare yourself.  Here are the basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home.

  1. Ask are you ready? Home ownership is quite different than renting. It is a lot more expensive than renting. You will have added expenses and responsibility. There will be expenses like repairs, added utility costs, such as garbage and water, plus taxes and insurance related to your home. You will want to make sure to have an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home.
  2. Shop for a loan. Your first step will be to get preapproved. Knowing how much you can afford will help you to look for homes within your price range.
  3. Figure out how much you can afford. Just because you are preapproved for a certain loan doesn't mean you can afford that in the real world. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between twenty five and thirty percent of your income. You don't want to be house poor.
  4. Use a real estate professional you can trust.  A good real estate professional will listen to your wants and needs carefully. It is important that you are also educated on the process of buying a home. A good real estate professional will help meet your needs while navigating you through the process and advocating for your best interests.