Lisa Bradley - Re/Max Vision



Posted by Lisa Bradley on 7/23/2019

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 5/28/2019

Getting settled in your new neighborhood is a big task. There are boxes to unpack, utilities to organize, new schools to register for, and new neighbors to meet. You have to learn new routes to work, and if you moved because of an employment opportunity, a new job to learn.

On top of that, you have to figure out new traffic patterns and where to find the best grocery stores, how to get to the post office or find the library and other services. You’re trying out new restaurants, exploring the sights and just getting settled in. 

Then, you fall ill on the weekend, or your child discovers broken glass the hard way. With all the busyness and activity, that last thing on your mind is having to deal with an unexpected medical emergency. You realize that while you signed all of the paperwork in HR at your new job, you didn’t really read it and follow instructions to find a local doctor, determine the nearest hospital or urgent care that takes your insurance or even locate a pharmacy.

This common scenario can derail your relocation experience and make navigating an emergency even more difficult.

Follow this guide for locating the necessary emergency services ahead of time:

  • Dedicate a few hours to locating a nearby urgent care to deal with minor issues. Ask neighbors, school teachers, and co-workers for recommendations. 
  • Urgent care facilities often are open on the weekend or later hours to care for simple infections and respiratory illnesses like a cold or flu, scrapes and bruises, sprains and other minor issues that need immediate attention but not hospitalization.
  • Find the nearest 24-hour pharmacy. Call ahead to make certain they take your prescription coverage.
  • Find the nearest hospital that has a trauma-level 24-hour emergency room and that takes your insurance.
  • Be sure to locate an emergency dentist too. A dentist specializing in emergency care may be able to save a broken or knocked out tooth while waiting to get into your regular dentist might be too late.

Learn directions to these locations from your home, your work and your children’s schools. Drive by each location to become familiar with the proper entrances for emergencies. Keep the addresses and phone numbers of these locations in your contacts. List them by “pharmacy,” “urgent care,” or “hospital” along with the business name, since during an actual emergency you may not be able to recall the business name. Keep a printed or hand-written list on your refrigerator or another visible location in your home for older children or childminders. 

Pets have emergencies too. Not all pet hospitals handle emergencies, so locate the nearest one to you and find a veterinarian that has a nearby clinic or makes house calls.

Finally:

If it is possible your child or pet has ingested something poisonous, memorize the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222.

Put this number in your phone and post it on your refrigerator. Be sure to share it with babysitters and pet-minders.

For assistance locating other emergency services in your neighborhood, talk to your real estate professional for recommendations.





Posted by Lisa Bradley on 4/16/2019

Buying a house is a life-changing decision. As such, you should perform extensive home evaluations before you make your final purchase decision.

There are many questions to consider as you review houses, and these questions include:

1. Does a home match my expectations?

Entering the housing market with homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. If you know what you want to find in your dream house, you can tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, you can speed up the homebuying journey.

When it comes to establishing homebuying criteria, it helps to consider your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you want a house that is close to your current office in the city, you can search for residences in towns and cities near your workplace. Or, if you are willing to upgrade a house on your own, you may want to focus on "fixer-upper" properties.

2. Can I afford a house?

Home prices vary based on many factors. Fortunately, if you create a homebuying budget, you can narrow your house search and review properties that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions are happy to provide you with a wide assortment of mortgage options. Once you assess the different types of mortgages, you can choose one that will ensure you can acquire your dream home in no time at all.

3. Will a home require in-depth repairs in the near future?

How a home looks today may not match how this residence looks in the years to come. As you evaluate residences, it may be beneficial to consider potential repairs.

For instance, if a house likely will require a new roof in the next few years, you may need to budget for this expense. Conversely, if a home is brand new or recently has been upgraded, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming repairs in the foreseeable future.

If you want to streamline your home search, you can hire a real estate agent too. In fact, if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a great house at a budget-friendly price. To accomplish this goal, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying criteria and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer expert homebuying recommendations and help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them at your convenience.

Lastly, be careful as you evaluate available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, and any residence you buy may increase or decrease in value over time. And if you find a home that you want to buy, prepare a competitive offer, and you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a property seller.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 4/2/2019

Let's face it – selling your home has been a long, complex and stressful journey. Now, you're only 24 hours from finalizing the sale of your house and moving on to the next chapter of your life.

Although most of the home selling process is complete, a homebuyer still needs to finalize the home purchase agreement. As such, there are several things that you may want to do before a homebuyer completes his or her final walk-through of your residence, including:

1. Clean Your Home's Interior

A messy interior is unlikely to ruin your home sale. At the same time, it is always better to err on the side of caution and provide a homebuyer with a fresh, clean residence that he or she will be able to enjoy instantly.

Spend some time mopping the floors, wiping down the walls and ceilings and ensuring your house's interior looks pristine. By doing so, you can minimize the risk that a homebuyer will find last-minute problems that could delay his or her home purchase.

2. Remove Your Belongings

If you have any belongings still at your residence, you'll need to remove them quickly.

When it comes to last-minute moving, you may need to rent a moving truck. With a moving truck at your disposal, you can remove items from your property and put them in storage or move them to your new address.

Also, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. These loved ones may be able to provide a helping hand as you prepare to relocate from your current residence. Plus, they may be able to help you alleviate stress as you wrap up the home selling cycle.

3. Cancel Any Home Services

Contact your home cable, internet and telephone service providers to inform them about your upcoming move. You may be able to move various services to your new address, or you may need to cancel some of these services entirely.

Don't forget to contact any utilities providers as well. That way, you can avoid the risk of utility bills after you leave your current address.

4. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent has been a game-changer throughout the home selling cycle. As the home selling process draws to a conclusion, your real estate will continue to do what he or she can to ensure you can get the best results possible.

If you're uncertain about what to do to get ready for a home closing, be sure to give your real estate agent a call. This housing market professional will provide details about how the home closing process will work so that you can plan accordingly.

Moreover, your real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns, at any time. He or she will go the extra mile to provide you with the home selling support you need.

Get ready to finalize a home sale – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to prepare for a home closing.





Posted by Lisa Bradley on 3/19/2019

If you've conducted an in-depth search for your dream house but still have yet to find your ideal residence, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can revisit your homebuying strategy and revise it as needed. This will allow you to restart your house search and increase the likelihood that you'll discover your dream home sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to revisit your homebuying strategy, and these include:

1. You can consider why you're searching for a house.

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to buy a home. By revisiting your homebuying strategy, you can think about why you want to purchase a house and proceed accordingly.

For example, if your initial goal was to buy a home near the top schools in a particular city or town, you may want to refocus your house search to achieve the optimal results. Or, if you now find that you'd prefer to own a house in a big city instead of a small town, you can update your house search.

2. You can evaluate your home must-haves and wants.

After attending open house events and home showings, your homebuying criteria may have changed. As such, now may be a good time to revisit your homebuying strategy so you can update these criteria.

Think about things you've liked and disliked as you've viewed various available houses. You can use your open house and home showing experiences to revamp your home must-haves and wants, and as a result, reenter the housing market with a fresh perspective.

3. You can review where you want to live.

As you've searched for homes, you may have found that houses in certain cities and towns are more appealing than other residences. Thus, you can revise your homebuying strategy to focus on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will help you accelerate your house search and ensure you can find a home in a city or town where you want to live.

Of course, conducting a home search on your own often can be difficult. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to find a great residence in any city or town. He or she can help you revamp your homebuying strategy and streamline your house search.

In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses that become available and help you navigate the homebuying cycle. Once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if you ever have concerns or questions about purchasing a home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Revisit your homebuying strategy today, and you could move one step closer to finding and purchasing your ideal residence.




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