Posted by Peggy Farber on 3/7/2018

When it comes to buying a home, there is no reason to let negotiations get the best of you. Fortunately, we're here to help you become an expert negotiator, i.e. someone who understands the ins and outs of obtaining a high-quality residence at a budget-friendly price.

What does it take to become an expert homebuying negotiator? Here are three negotiating tips that every homebuyer needs to know:

1. Act Quickly on a Home That You Like

If you fall in love with a home and are ready to make an offer on it, don't hesitate to put your best foot forward. Submit a competitive offer, and you may be able to avoid stressful negotiations with a home seller.

Understanding the true value of a residence is paramount for homebuyers. Conduct plenty of housing market research before you submit an offer, and you can better understand the prices of comparable houses in your area.

Also, if a home seller counters your initial offer, don't be afraid to negotiate. Be flexible, and you can boost your chances of securing your dream residence.

2. Do the Math

How much can you afford for a new home? You'll want to establish a homebuying budget before you enter negotiations with a home seller. Otherwise, you risk spending too much to acquire a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may make it easy for you to avoid the temptation to overspend. With a mortgage in hand, you can search for houses that fit your price range.

In addition, be sure to account for closing costs and other fees that you may encounter down the line. If you fail to do so, you may wind up overspending on a residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Homebuying negotiations can be time-consuming and expensive if you're not careful. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent usually is a good idea, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Stress and anxiety can be problematic during homebuying negotiations, but a real estate agent will ensure that you won't have to deal with these issues.

Your real estate agent has a simple goal: to ensure that you can purchase the best house at the best price. He or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to accomplish this goal. As such, employing a real estate agent to handle homebuying negotiations can make a world of difference for homebuyers nationwide.

Furthermore, your real estate agent will keep you informed throughout negotiations. This real estate professional will offer expert tips and recommendations and will never make a move without consulting with you. Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will be happy to answer any of your homebuying concerns and queries, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying process.

Work with a real estate agent as you prepare to enter negotiations to purchase a residence. By doing so, you can simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

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Posted by Peggy Farber on 2/14/2018

Let's face it – homebuyers constantly compete with one another, especially if a new home is added to the real estate market that fulfills the requests of a large assortment of homebuyers in a particular area. Thus, you'll want to do whatever you can to gain a competitive advantage over other homebuyers, as this competitive edge will enable you to discover the right home quickly and efficiently. So what does it take to obtain a competitive advantage over your homebuying rivals? Here are three tips to help you gain a competitive edge over homebuyers in any real estate market: 1. Act Fast. The early bird catches the worm, and the same holds true for homebuyers who want to find the best homes in a competitive real estate segment. Homebuyers who act quickly are more likely to find great homes as soon as new residences hit the real estate market. Also, these homebuyers will be in an ideal position, one that enables them to check out a recently listed home quickly and make an offer without delay if a residence meets their needs. Study the real estate market carefully, and you'll be better equipped to make a move on a recently listed house faster than other homebuyers. Also, be sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage, as this will enable you to submit an offer without having to worry about committing extensive time and resources to get approved for a mortgage down the line. 2. Offer More Than the Asking Price. What can you do to ensure your offer stands out to a home seller? Offer more than the asking price for a residence, and you can improve your chances of securing your dream home. In the event that a home seller receives multiple offers for his or her residence, offering more than the initial asking price will help your offer stand out from others. Therefore, you'll be able to reduce the risk that you could miss out on your ideal house if you submit an offer that exceeds a home seller's asking price. 3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent. When it comes to finding your dream home, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Instead, hire an experienced real estate agent, and you'll be able to enjoy a long-lasting competitive edge over other homebuyers. Typically, a real estate agent will possess extensive industry know-how and experience, ensuring that he or she can help you find your perfect residence immediately. This professional also will be ready to respond to any concerns or queries and ensure you are fully supported during every step of the homebuying process. From determining your ideal budget for a new home to setting up home showings, a real estate agent can make it easier for you to check out many wonderful residences in cities and towns nationwide. As a result, hiring a real estate agent could mean the difference between settling for an average house and discovering your dream residence in any real estate market. Gain the competitive edge you need in any real estate market, and you should be able to make an offer on your dream home instantly.

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Posted by Peggy Farber on 2/7/2018

When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy. 

When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.    

Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.

Closing Costs Vary

Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be. 


Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate. 

What’s Included In Closing Costs?

Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:

  • Appraisal
  • Escrow fees
  • Credit reports
  • Title search
  • Title exam fee
  • Survey fee
  • Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
  • Title insurance
  • Owner’s title insurance
  • Natural hazards disclosure
  • Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
  • Buyer’s attorney fee
  • Lender’s attorney fee
  • Transfer taxes
  • Recording fees
  • Processing fees
  • Underwriting fee
  • Pre-paid interest
  • Pest inspections
  • Homeowner's association transfer fees
  • Special assessments

These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.

Posted by Peggy Farber on 1/3/2018

Dotting the I's and crossing the T's on a home loan application may seem like a daunting task, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced homebuyer. However, those who know what to expect when they fill out a home loan application may be better equipped than others to obtain a home loan that matches or exceeds their expectations.

When it comes time to fill out a home loan application, you'll need to provide a variety of information, including:

1. Personal Information

Allocate the necessary time and resources to provide as much personal information as possible on your home loan application. That way, you can make it easy for a lender to create a file for all of your home loan information.

Typically, your lender will ask for your Social Security number, date of birth, current housing information and school information. Provide accurate personal information at all times, and if you're uncertain about how to answer certain questions, consult with a home loan expert for additional support.

2. Employment Information

Where have you worked, and how much have you earned while you've worked for various companies in the past? As you complete your home loan application, you'll need to provide employment information to verify your current and past employment and income.

Usually, a lender will want you to provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers for any employers over the past two years. This will allow a lender to verify employment as part of the home loan application process.

You also will need to offer copies of your two most recent pay stubs to a lender. This will enable the lender to confirm your current income.

Lastly, if you are self-employed, you likely will need to provide a lender with a profit and loss statement for the past two years.

3. Financial Information

Tax forms, bank account information and asset details are some of the key parts of the financial information section of a home loan application.

Ultimately, the financial information section helps a lender verify if you have any outstanding credit lines, rental property and much more. This information will help a lender make an informed decision about your loan application and determine how much you are eligible to receive toward the purchase of a new house.

If you ever have questions at any stage of the home loan application process, don't hesitate to reach out to a home loan expert for help. This professional will be able to offer comprehensive insights to help you complete a timely, accurate home loan application.

In addition, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with various lenders in your area. With this housing market professional at your side, you can learn about different lenders and find one that can help you get the right home loan.

Finalizing a home loan application may seem like an uphill struggle. But if you act as a diligent homebuyer, you should have no trouble reviewing all sections of a home loan application. And as a result, you can provide a lender with relevant information and boost your chances of getting the perfect home loan.

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Posted by Peggy Farber on 12/27/2017

A condo offers a great opportunity to enjoy a comfortable living space without the hassle of home exterior maintenance. As such, many property buyers are exploring condos in cities and towns nationwide.

However, buying a condo sometimes can be tricky, particularly for property buyers who are unfamiliar with the real estate market. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of purchasing a condo.

Let's take a look at three questions that condo buyers need to consider before they purchase a property.

1. Am I ready for condo life?

Owning a condo and owning a home are two very different things, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Like a homeowner, a condo owner has a property to call his or her own. But a condo community usually has a homeowners' association (HOA) in place that manages exterior maintenance and other tasks. This association also establishes rules and regulations that all condo owners must follow; otherwise, property owners may face fines.

Before you purchase a condo, it is paramount to prepare for condo life as much as possible. To do so, you may want to consult with friends or family members who have resided in condo communities over the years. These loved ones can share their condo living experiences with you to help you better understand what life will be like as a condo owner.

2. How much can I afford to pay for a condo?

Although you know that you'd like to purchase a condo, you still need to find out how much you can afford to pay for a property. Fortunately, banks and credit unions are available to help you determine how much you can spend on a condo.

Consult with several banks and credit unions to explore all of your home financing options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your expectations.

In addition, you may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your condo search. If you enter the real estate market with a budget in hand, you can narrow your condo search and speed up the property buying process.

3. Do I need to employ a real estate agent?

Ultimately, a real estate agent is a must-have for any condo buyer, at any time. This housing market professional can teach you the ins and outs of real estate and ensure that you can make an informed condo purchase.

A real estate agent strives to provide you with an outstanding condo buying experience. To accomplish this goal, he or she will work with you, learn about your condo buying goals and help you plan accordingly.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is unafraid to be honest. He or she will offer condo buying recommendations and suggestions as you check out a variety of properties. This housing market professional is happy to respond to your condo buying queries as well.

Streamline the process of buying a condo – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move closer to acquiring an outstanding condo at an outstanding price.