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Number 1 way to make home buying less stressful

by Christy Rhoades


Although it doesn’t rank as high as some other stressors, purchasing a home is still considered a stressful – though exciting – life event. Here are three easy ways to decrease home buying stress:

Stress buster number 3: Be prepared

Interest rates were really low last year, and my husband and I just weren’t sure if we were ready to buy yet. We wanted more money in savings and for a down payment. Take a close look at your situation and decide if buying a home is a step that you are truly ready to take. If you think you may move from your city in a year or two, or if you aren’t sure what your financial outlook will be, it’s OKAY to wait. You’ll only be setting yourself up for future stress if you force a big purchase you’re not ready for.

Stress buster number 2: Be realistic

There are certain priorities that we decided on before starting our home search. For instance, we prefer two bathrooms, and we also have a favorite neighborhood we can see ourselves living in for a long time. But we also know we can do without one more bedroom, and we can live with popcorn ceilings. There’s nothing wrong with coming up with a list of must-haves, but flexibility is the key to staying stress-free.

Stress buster number 1: A Realtor®

My Realtor® is my secret weapon and number 1 stress buster because he knows exactly how to handle everything that comes our way. He answered our seemingly endless questions and gave us helpful advice about everything from the transaction process to being good homeowners. I never had to worry about what our next step was since he was always there to make sure we were on track. Even as the clock ticked toward closing, I felt at ease knowing my Realtor® was working hard for me.

Real estate transactions are complicated, and quite frankly, I don’t have the time or interest in dealing with every detail. My Realtor® took care of those details for me, so I could focus on finding the right home at the right price. If that’s not a good secret weapon to have for your home search, I don’t know what is.

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Mike Morse

We are often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give a Morse Real Estate RealtorĀ® a call if we can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Mike Morse
Broker & Owner
(402) 677-6356

The Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make And How to Avoid Them

by Mike Morse

From the beginning of your home search through closing escrow, there’s an awful lot to think about and do.

It’s not unusual to make a mistake along the way. But with the financial stakes so high, a false move can end up costing you a lot of money.

Here are five common home buyer mistakes, with tips on how to avoid them.

You expect to get the price down after making an offer
The real estate market is heating up across the country. In many markets, homes are selling for more than asking price.

Some buyers win the bidding war by going over asking — only to try to negotiate the price down by asking for credits during escrow.

This strategy may work sometimes, especially in a weak seller’s market. But we’re in a competitive market for buyers now, so don’t count on it.

The seller most likely will have a backup offer from another buyer who really wants the home — and who is hoping your deal falls through.

If you start asking for unwarranted credits, the seller may simply go with the backup offer, leaving you out in the cold.

A better strategy: Make your best offer, and don’t assume you can negotiate it down later.

You wait until the eleventh hour to ask for credits
In Houston, a seller had put his house on the market with full disclosure that it had termites. A buyer made an offer and went into contract with the seller.

After further inspections, and at the eleventh hour, the buyer demanded an unreasonable amount be deducted from the sale price.

The buyer assumed that the seller, not wanting to put the house on the market again, would agree, just to close the deal. But that’s not what happened.

The seller agreed to reduce the price, but not by the full amount the buyer wanted.

The buyer ended up walking away from the deal. The house sold soon after at a higher price than what was negotiated with the first buyer.

Of course, you should ask for credits if an inspection turns up potentially costly repair work you didn’t know about when you made your offer.

But even in a buyer’s market, don’t assume you can get sellers to cave in to unreasonable demands at the last minute.

You chase a deal at all costs
Everyone wants to save money, especially on a high-ticket item such as real estate.

Unfortunately, this causes some would-be buyers to make lowball offers in hopes of getting a “deal.”

Or, potential buyers lose out on homes they might have been able to get otherwise, which ends up costing money in the long run.

For example, a renter in San Francisco spent three years looking for the best “deal” she could possibly get, passing up many good opportunities.

Eventually, her landlord wanted to sell the place she was renting. This forced her to finally buy, but under pressure. She ended up buying at the top of the market.

If she hadn’t held out for so long in hopes of scoring an amazing deal, she’d have saved herself a lot of money and time. She’d even have built up some equity in a home over those three years.

In a strong real estate market, the deals are in homes that have been overpriced and haven’t sold as a result, and/or properties that don’t show well because they need work.

If the home you want is well-priced, in a good neighborhood and doesn’t need much work, the best strategy is to make a solid offer and be prepared to go over asking if necessary.

You think you can do it all yourself
With so much information about homes available online today, many people, such as tech-savvy Gen X and Gen Y home buyers, may assume they can buy a home without a real estate agent’s help.

But this strategy often backfires.

First of all, the real estate agent’s role isn’t just about finding listings. With Internet access, buyers can easily find listings themselves.

The agent’s role today is more about presenting your offer to the seller’s agent in a way that will help get it accepted and making sure it sticks through an escrow.

A savvy agent knows the ins and outs of the local market better than an uninformed buyer with a full-time job and family.

A good agent will know the back-stories behind the comps, for example.

He or she will know that a comparable home sold for 5 percent less (than the home you’re considering) only because the sellers were divorcing, or the property had a retaining wall problem.

Without an agent, you’d simply see that the comparable home sold for 5 percent less.

You might ask the seller of the home to match that 5 percent reduction — and you’d be surprised when the seller says, “No thanks.”

Also, experienced agents have a strong network in the local market, which can give you an added edge. Good agents like to work with other good agents.

And if nothing else, keep in mind that a listing agent might not even consider working with an unrepresented buyer.

Finally, the seller pays the buyer’s real estate commission, so having an agent for your home search costs you nothing anyway.

Most importantly, there’s bound to come a time during the complicated real estate transaction when you have serious doubts or big questions.

Your agent can be the trusted adviser you need to walk you through the maze.

You don’t think like a seller
Most likely, at some point in the future you’ll need to sell the home you’re about to buy. That’s why it’s important to think like a potential seller as well as a buyer.

Case in point: In 2005, a buyer in San Francisco bought a home with no garage.

The house was on multiple transit lines, he used his bicycle to get around and he knew he’d have access to a leased garage space if he needed it. So he felt he didn’t need a garage.

Three years later, the market was slower, but the owner had to sell.

He didn’t feel his home should be priced less than a comparable property with a deeded garage because his house was so centrally located. Plus, he had that leased garage space to offer.

The problem was, many buyers drive to work, and they don’t want to risk losing a leased garage space.

The result was that many buyers wouldn’t even look at his home’s photos online, let alone go to the open house — because it lacked a garage.

So when you’re buying a home, put yourself in a potential seller’s shoes. The last thing you want is to buy a dream home that becomes a nightmare when it’s time to sell.

“The Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make — And How to Avoid Them” was provided by Zillow.com. 

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