5 things you need to know about viewing homes

You  have scoured the internet listings. Maybe you have a list derived from homes your agent sent you to review. In some cases, you may have a mix of what your agent has sent and homes you have found using one of the websites that list homes for sale. Now you are ready to go see them in person.

There are 5 things you need to know before you go out the door.

  1. Your agent has to review the list to make sure they are all actually still for sale
  2. Your agent has to make sure he is aware of information about each home and neighborhood.
  3. Your agent has to follow the showing instructions in obtaining permission for you to view each home.
  4. Your agent has to put together a route that will get you from the starting point to the last home
  5. Your agent has to keep you on schedule to reach and view each home on the list.

Viewing homes is not just a matter of driving to an address of a home that is for sale and walking through the front door and taking a look around. It first must be verified that the home is still for sale and available for viewing. It is possible that a home that was listed as “active” when you last looked on line, has gone under contract. Some websites are not updated and homes showing for sale have actually been sold long before they caught your eye. If you have found a home in one of the many vanity magazines that claim to have homes for sale, chances are that nothing you have seen is still on the market (those magazines actually are for the benefit of agents hoping to list other homes).  Homes that are for sale, may or may not be occupied. If they are occupied, the resident usually likes to know that someone is coming to view the home. If they are vacant, it is usually easier to get in the home and view it. Your agent will have to “scrub” the list and remove those that are not really available.

Once the list of homes you want to see has been reduced to homes that you can see, your agent has to review the pertinent data about the home. You may have questions about square footage, the approximate tax bill, the schools in the area as well as where is the closest shopping, etc. Your agent has to be able to answer your questions. In most cases, these general questions are part of your weaning method and getting back to you will prolong the process. At this stage, you are subconsciously evaluating each home. Answers that make it easier to include or remove a home from your final list are very important. Your agent should be aware of traffic patterns and possible commuting routes. Understand, in urban areas, finding a parking space is not a skill, it is the luck of the draw.

Every listing agent has been directed by the seller when the home is available to be shown. These instructions vary from home to home. There are lots of reasons that homes may not be available when you wish to view them. If people are still living in the home, they are selling a house but they are also doing their best to maintain some semblance of order while that occurs.  The listing agent includes showing instructions in the MLS listing. The instructions are not always finite. Often, the listing agent uses the services of a third party showing scheduler. A call must be made and permission granted for the time frame your agent plans for you to view the home. These “showing windows” have a beginning time and are usually confined to a 60 minute slot. If a home is vacant, you often have a great deal more latitude in times. The showing permission has to be followed. It is very important that you stay on schedule. If a home you visit is impressive enough that you want a longer look, have your agent schedule a second showing later that day or the next day. Don’t linger and throw the viewing schedule off. You may not be able to see all the homes on your list and you will never know if the one  you missed would have been “the one”.

In a perfect world, you would start at point A and move systematically to point B and so on. Showing homes just doesn’t seem to work that way all of the time.  Often, available showing times create the need for a back and forth flow to your tour.  It is up to your agent to orchestrate this journey. Each home and each availability time has to be put together like pieces of a puzzle. When complete, you will have a good picture of which homes you will visit and the order in which you will see them. Nobody is perfect and a system with so many variables can cause the best of us to falter. Your agent’s mission is to get you into each home you wish to see. Usually, that happens, but sometimes things change and you end up standing at a front door and discover it is not available to be seen.  It happens to the best of us. Keep in mind, the seller can restrict showings when ever they want. If you can’t get in, move on to the next home on the list.

Sometimes when viewing homes, you discover that the listing agent was a magician with a camera. Other times, when viewing homes you will marvel at a listing agent’s talent in describing the home. When viewing homes, what you see is what you get. Your agent has no control over the accuracy of photos presented or description used by the listing agent. Your agent is responsible for looking at the home and attempting to see anything that needs further investigation. Always remember that you are the buyer. You will be the one living in the home. If you ask the agent “What do you think?”, you are asking too broad of a question. You can ask about lots of things regarding the home or the area. Your agent (in most cases) will not be moving in with you, so “what they think” is not something they can easily answer. It is your job to walk around, get a feel for the layout, visualize your self and your things (furniture, etc). Most of the time, this will be accomplished rather quickly. Make notes and wait until you have seen all the homes before making a final yes decision about any of them. Remove any home as soon as you know it does not work. Stay on schedule. Your goal was to see a certain number of homes to make a good evaluation. You have to stay on schedule to accomplish your goal.

Viewing homes properly entails planning. If you follow your agent’s direction, you will have a successful day. You may not find the home of your choice, but you will definitely remove possibles from your list. Remember, it takes time to prepare and preparation is necessary for you to see the homes you wish to see.

Enjoy the journey, take notes and stay on schedule. Your home is just waiting for you to come by.

Buying a home and overwhelmed with the process, make a list

checklist

Buying a home can be overwhelming. You have moved past the dream and are now ready for reality. There is nothing that could have prepared you for what you are feeling.  First-time home buyers have shared the experienced with us.  The doubts range from not knowing what you think you should know to not being sure what you know is really what you should know.  Couples face the challenge together and single folks face it alone, but they both feel the uneasiness.  How could you feel any other way?  Just the basics are daunting. You are preparing to spend anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars to more than a million dollars.  You have been saving, and it has taken forever to accumulate that nest egg. Suddenly, all the sacrifices you have made are staring back at you.

You have done your part.  You may have spoken with a lender already or you may have just begun searching on-line looking at homes.  What next?  Well, before I go any further, let me share the list of things you need to have accomplished before looking at one more pretty picture of a home for sale on line.

This is your initial checklist. Taken one step at a time, it will be less overwhelming. For now, the long term goal is purchasing a home but you are going to focus on a series of short term goals, one at a time. Clear everything off your plate and follow these easy steps in order they are presented. The title by the number is the goal. The subtitles under the goal are steps taken to accomplish the goal.

  1. Establish your financial position.
  • Make contact with your personal banker, a rival local bank and a local Federal Credit Union.
  • Sit with each one and inquire about their loan programs. Share only what is necessary for them to give you a general idea of what they have to offer.
  • Once comfortable (you truly understand what is being shared, if not, go back a step) ask them to give you a general idea of what you can afford based on a payment that you are comfortable with making. Do not allow them to pull a credit report at this time. It is not needed and you want to keep the number of inquiries to a minimum so your FICO score will not be impacted.
  • Thank them for their time and give the information at least 24 hours to sink in.
  • Make a follow up appointment to discuss anything questions you have. Unless your personal bank is an online bank, you can have them prepare a pre-approval letter for you. The only caveat I will offer is that sometimes market conditions are such that Federal Credit Unions have better products. If that is the case, have the FCU prepare the pre-approval letter. Whomever you choose, they can pull your credit reports.
  • Understand, this is just the beginning of the financial process. You are not bound to any lender. As long as there is time for the loan to be processed prior to closing, you can switch lenders.

2.  Determine where you want to live

  • Stop the wide focus searching on the internet. Narrow your choices down to specific areas.
  • In urban areas, you will find neighborhoods and in the suburbs you will find developments.
  • Your focus should be on where the area is in relation to your job and what are the various ways you can commute between home and work from each area.
  • Once you have some areas in mind, go spend time in them. Visit on a weekend afternoon, Drive by in the evening. If possible, park you car (if you have one) and walk around. Get a real feel for the area. You will be able to tell more about the area by actually spending time there than any website will be able to relate.
  • If neighbors are out and about and you are up to approaching them in congenial fashion, stop and ask “what’s the neighborhood like?”
  • You will find that your visits factored with your commute will create a pecking order of preferences for you to use as an outline for your actual home search.

3. Select a Realtor

  • At this point, you really do need a guide, caretaker, interpreter and adviser. As you can see, if done properly, the process has already been quite extensive.
  • The Realtor will be the person that assists you in your search. Of course, you will spend hours in front of computer screens, dreaming and hoping. Your agent will be the one charged with providing you facts.
  • Your Realtor should have a deeper knowledge of the area than what you have gleaned in your visits.
  • The most important thing your Realtor can do initially is listen to you. It is your home search. There is no way it can be accomplished successfully unless the agent is on the same page as you.
  • Communication is vital. Keep in mind all you have put together to reach this point, You have to understand what is going on and how the process is proceeding.
  • The Realtor has the tools to fine tune your criteria and match it with available properties. Keep in mind, every listing presented or suggested is only a maybe. You will turn away more than you will choose to visit and you will visit more than you will opt to purchase. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ignore a suggestion. Again, it is your home search.

4. The Search

  • You are ready to begin the search in earnest. You have your financial base, your target areas and your Realtor. Now you can begin to separate the pretenders from the contenders.
  • A solid search can be done based on area, price, amenities (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, etc.), and style of home (single family, town home, condominium) Note: price may narrow choices regarding location and some amenities).
  • It is important that you truly understand, your Realtor has access to every home that is listed in the MLS in your area. The same can not be said for the national search sites. National sites (Zillow, Trulia, etc) do not have contractual agreements with all multiple listing services and in some cases they are missing homes that are for sale or show homes for sale that have already been sold. That is just reality.
  • Your Realtor should be monitoring the MLS to make sure you are notified of every home on the market that meets your general criteria as soon as it is available.
  • Viewings must be scheduled. In some cases, visits have to be scheduled a day or two ahead of time. Your agent is at the mercy of the seller’s showing instructions. You should be able to give your Realtor the times that you are available to view homes and set up viewings at your convenience. It is your home search. Just remember, in many cases, it is not possible to call and set up an appointment for later in the same day.
  • Re-visit any home that you are considering to purchase. The first visit was just that, the first visit. The second visit should be a bit longer and you should take the time to visualize living in the home.
  • Do not be discouraged if it seems like the process is plodding along. When you walk through the doors of the right home for you, you will know it.

Now, you know you are financially ready, you know where you want to live, your agent has taken you through homes and you have found the one!

Sit down with your agent, he will help you prepare an offer that will present you in the most favorable position to the seller. You have gotten this far. The rest will be nerves. It may help you to make a list of all the reasons you have to be proud of yourself for reaching this point. Never discount the pride in accomplishment every new home owner feels when the receive the keys at closing.

Of course, if you reach step 3 and figure I might be a good choice, fill out the form. I would be delighted to assist you in your journey.

DC and Md Home Buying

Here is some general information regarding buying a home. You might want to pour a cup of coffee before beginning to read. It is a bit long, but, buying a home takes a little more input that suggesting which big screen t.v. you want to put in the family room.
We find it most useful to go through the process in general terms. Each buyer is an individual and the general can be tailored to specifics.
You want to buy a home.
 
We won’t attempt to list all the reasons that lead people to this decision. From a purely economic standpoint, in the long run, it is better to own than to rent. When purchasing property, payments made against principal increase the equity you have in a home. Despite the recent downturn, home values today are greater than they were 5 years ago. This fact holds true over the last 70 years.
homesaleschart
When do you want to buy?
 
It may be that you are not quite sure. You may need more information to formulate a time line. This note should help clear up any mystery about the process. Hopefully, it will answer most of  your questions. If any questions remain, we will be glad to make sure they are answered.
The most important step is for you to determine how much home you are comfortable paying for on a monthly basis. You will see ads on television and hear ads on the radio extolling the virtues of different lenders. You will see many different advertisements on the internet offering to pre-approve you for a loan quickly from the comfort of you computer.  You probably would not make any other major life decision sitting in front of a computer. We think you should only deal with a lender that is local.
You have seen what happened to people that chased “bargain” rates on the internet. They usually found the real rate was higher and they had no access to anyone. This is a very personal decision and computers are rather impersonal objects.
bank
We recommend that a buyer contact a local bank or mortgage company. It is much easier to deal with a firm that offers you a face to face meeting to discuss the process of obtaining a mortgage. Remember, just because a firm pre-approves you for a loan, you are not obligated to use them to purchase the home. You can change your mind about a lender right up to a few days before closing. If you have applied for a loan and the lender has done an appraisal, the appraisal can usually be purchased by the new lender.
There is no cost to being pre-approved. If a firm requires some sort of payment, refuse to do business with them.
Being pre-approved by more than one lender will not affect your credit rating one iota.  The credit scoring systems treat multiple inquiries for mortgages as one inquiry. No one will penalize you for attempting to acquire the best mortgage for your situation.
When you speak to a lender, they will need you to reveal a great deal of our personal financial information. They need this information to satisfy their underwriters which in turn are under the “microscope” of institutions that will subsequently buy the loan from the lender. Our recent credit meltdown has caused all mortgage companies to document all information regarding loan applicants.
anloanap
When you speak with a lender, you must keep in mind that your goal is to ascertain how much home you can buy and keep payments in a comfortable range. I would strongly urge you to only look at fixed rate loans that do not include provisions for rate changes in the future. There are situations in which adjustable rate mortgages make sense, but it is usually best for a first time home buyer to focus on a loan that will offer a consistent payment.
Depending on the amount of money that you have set aside for a down payment, you can either qualify for what is called a conventional loan (this is a loan in which you usually put down at least 20%) or you can qualify for an FHA loan (these loans require as little as 3.5% down).  A qualified lender will be able to go over both types of loans and see which one fits your individual situation. You can get a conventional loan with less than 20% down, but this will create a need for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will increase your monthly payment.
Once a loan amount and interest rate is determined, you ask the lender for a good faith estimate. It will clearly outline what has been promised. I will share that the good faith estimate is not carved in stone. The newest version of the good faith estimate will not even include your monthly payment.  Some lenders will try to avoid giving you a good faith estimate.
They will offer a “worksheet” which will have your monthly payment. It is not binding. Demand a good faith estimate and a worksheet.
In our fluctuating market, interest rates are on what seems like an hourly roller coaster ride. Rates can and do change quickly. It is important for you to understand that the rates usually do not change a great deal over a short period of time. Today, they are close to 4% but they may shoot up before you finish reading this note. The actual rate you receive will be determined once you find the property you wish to purchase.
Once you have a contract ratified, you can ask your lender to lock your rate and you will not be affected by any rate changes that occur between contract ratification and closing.
Phew…….it sounds daunting to just get through that process, but in reality it may only take a 15-20 minute phone call to give the information to the lender and then maybe another 30 minutes to discuss your options. We are always available to digest what our clients have been told and answer any questions that exist. If necessary, we often speak with the lender to make sure our client is hearing what is actually being shared.
Once you know how much you have to spend, you can decide what you wish to buy. The amount of money available will impact whether you can buy a condo, a town home or a detached single family home.  Condo’s are at the lower price end of the scale and single family homes are at the top. In our current market, all styles are are available.
As you have heard, location is a major factor.  The closer a home is to the center of activity (in this area Washington, DC) the higher the prices are for homes. As you move out into the suburbs, prices are lower. In the suburbs, again the proximity to a Metro will impact the pricing.
Understanding that price is a factor, we think it is important to stay focused on the fact that you’re are buying a home. You need to make sure that regardless of location, the home you find has the amenities that will make it a home for you.
Location is usually defined as a place.
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Once you live in a location, you will realize that the distance of your commute is a major factor. You will realize that your access to shopping, public transportation and recreational facilities is also an important part of location. You need to spend a little down time with yourself and examine your lifestyle and make sure all aspects of location are part of your decision making process regarding where you new home is located.
We can go over the various options and areas with you. It will be easier for us to perform our magic if we have a complete understanding of what is important to you. The right home is out there. With the proper information, we can find it and it can be yours. Patience!

 
Now, you probably have read and heard the term “short sale” and or “foreclosure” or even “bank owned”. These terms have spent a fair amount of time in the news over the last few years. They represent different situations.
“Short sale” generally is referring to a property that is owned by someone that cannot pay their mortgage anymore. Some of these people financed the home with exotic financing. Some of these people took advantage of rising home values and took out equity lines that they can no longer pay. Others have fallen on hard times and can no longer pay. The reasons are many but the end result is the same, the property owner owes more than the house is worth and the property owner is no longer paying their mortgage.  They call the bank and they are told that they need to try to sell the home. They call a Realtor and have the home listed for a price that the Realtor thinks will get an offer. Once the offer is received, it is signed by the property owner and forwarded to the lender with an elaborate “short sale ” package.
Before the bank will even consider the offer, they must receive all the documents. Once they have all the documents, they forward the offer and package to an internal department that will review the offer and accept the offer or make a counter offer. This process can take weeks with some lenders. There is no guarantee that the price the home was listed for is the price that the bank will accept for the home. They have internal reviews that determine how much they will lose on the sale and what they may potentially lose through foreclosure. Decisions are not based on facts apparent to the public.
If the sale falls through, the property does not become a “pre-approved short sale”.  Some agents re-list the home with this term or a similar term.  It is not true. Any new offer has to start at square one and the prior approval is not part of the equation.
Many times deals are turned down because of the lenders financial position at the time of the offer.
 
“Foreclosures” or auctions are really very difficult to purchase comfortably. Homes that are being auctioned often can only be viewed from the outside. Auctions are usually held on the courthouse steps. Participants must have a cashiers check to submit and if a bid is won and they must promise to get financing within a short period of time. Many homes that are auctioned off, do not appraise for the value and a loan is not available. The cash deposit is lost. It is a very costly gambit into the unknown. It is much better to wait and look at bank owned properties.
 
“Bank owned” properties have been foreclosed on by the lender. The bank has title to the property. They are sold “as-is”. They can be viewed like any other home for sale. The bank has determined what they need from the property so you know that the list price is close to what they expect. We have represented many clients that have purchased bank owned properties. We have no problem dealing with the banks. These sales are very similar to the sales that occur between homeowners and buyers outside the “short sale” dynamics.
Once you have a comfort level regarding the process, you should choose a real estate agent.
This is another important decision. Your agent has to become your confidant. You have to share your dreams and your weaknesses. You have to trust this person to protect your interests above all others during the transaction. I think you have to believe that your agent is responsive to your needs.
In the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, agents have to be licensed. Most reasonable people agree,It takes more than a license to perform a service properly. Experience garnered over time and transactions adds an immeasurable understanding to lessons taught in classrooms. Once you are comfortable with an agent, you should work with that agent exclusively. The agent will work under a contract.
If an agent says that they do not need a contract, understand that they legally can not represent you completely (They are forbidden from offering advice or assisting you with preparation of an offer or negotiating on your behalf).
An agent that shows you homes without a contract, may be presumed to represent you, but without a contract they must represent the interests of the seller of each home you are shown. (They are legally bound to protect the interest of the seller as a sub-agent of the listing agent.) Making sure that your agent has a contract with you protects you throughout the process.
We hope this long article covers most of the basics regarding buying a home. If you would like to sit down and go over the process, we would be glad to set aside a time that is mutually convenient for both of us. We can meet  and we can answer any questions you have face to face.
My name is John MacArthur and my partner is Lourdes Tudela.  For more information, fill out the form below.

Buyers beware … Fair Housing does not limit your decisions

Buyers beware, Fair Housing does not limit your decisions.  The Fair Housing Act was adopted in 1968 and then modified by amendments in 1988.   The law was part of the Civil Rights Act.  In short, it prohibited discriminating against people based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap, when those people are seeking housing.

The law covers those that are selling, renting or lending money to people.  End of story.

This may be one of the intended goals.

It is far from reality.

         People by nature are more comfortable with people that are from a similar race, color, national origin, or religion. People often prefer to live in an area where their particular chosen lifestyle is accepted.  People, across the board, want to feel comfortable in their new living environment.  It is just my opinion, but that seems to be human nature.

It is not a violation of the Fair Housing Act to assist them in finding a home that THEY want.

         Real estate agents seem to get confused or perplexed when dealing with buyers and/or renters.  They rebuff inquiries about neighborhoods or fall into the “strange mode” of ” I can show you anything based on your criteria, but I can not comment on the racial make up, color make up, predominant national origin or predominant religion in any area.” “I can not tell you about schools, crime or sexual offenders, but I can direct you to websites where you can discover the information your self.  I can not tell you about any potential changes to the community, but I can direct you to the planning office where you can research that information for yourself.”

          When asked, what then is your value Mr. or Ms. Realtor, I guess they can reply “I have access to the homes. I can open the door for you.”

          Oh, now there is justification for the money you earn! 

         It would seem to me that the value of an agent working with a buyer or renter is in part their knowledge of the community.  Clients come to agents and are quite open in their desires.  Should they be left to the whims of the agent? If someone asks to live in a predominantly Asian community, is the agent doing their job when they drive them all over hill and dale (when any agent that actually lives and works in the area knows full well where Asian communities are located).

          If a client wants to look at homes that are within walking distance of a religious location, is the agent doing their job when that drive them all over hill and dale ( when any agent that actually lives and works in the area knows full well where religious locations are located).

         I happen to believe that locating the right home is my job.  If there is reluctance on the part of the seller because of the race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap of my client, well then we shall seek the protection of the Fair Housing Act.  That is what the act exist for…to protect, not hinder those that are buying or renting a home.

          If you happen to be a single woman and the thought of walking through the gauntlet of young men jeering every night when you come home makes you sick,  you do have a right to find a home that may preclude that experience.  If you have a good agent, they should be able to assist you.  Just because testosterone laden cat calls are not illegal, does not mean you have to live where they might well exist.

         The internet is chock full of data that buyers can use. You can go to crime sites and see the crimes reported. You can go to city data sites and see the demographics of a neighborhood.  You can go to school sites and see the demographics of any school, including test rankings, racial breakdown and percentage of free lunch participants.  You can search and juggle data as infinitum.  Your agent should have internet access as well.

The law dictates that you can not be discriminated against on basic criteria.  YOU have the right to discriminate against anything you like when you are buying or renting.  No government can dictate where you choose to live.

          Buyers beware … fair housing does not limit your decisions. Fair housing protects your right to act on those decisions.  The law is a good law, but it is not a guideline for purchase or rental decisions.  Keep that in mind the next time you ask an intelligent question of an agent and get sent to Wikipedia or Google.

Rebates for home buyers

cash bag

Most of you don’t know how in the world that real estate agent called you.  You were just searching for homes on-line and all of a sudden an agent calls.  It must be magic!  Sorry to disappoint you, there is no magic involved.  Your contact information was bought and paid for before you even signed in to a website.

When the rules changed and listings became available on the internet, the door was opened for anyone with a website to share local listings with you.  Access to the information could be purchased from the multiple listing service.  The brokers that provide the information signed an agreement that made the information available to the market.  Many companies (Zillow, Trulia, Market Leader, etc) seized this opportunity to create fancy websites that would attract consumers.  Their goal was to draw home buyers in with promises of all the data.  They created innocuous little forms to be filled out “so you could be kept up to date with any new listings that meet your criteria”.

Once you filled out the information, it was sold. You see, while these companies were creating pretty websites, they were also soliciting real estate agents.  They offer “warm leads from buyers in your area”.  They break down incoming leads by zip code and sell the rights to all the leads in that zip code to any agent that is willing to pay a monthly fee.  Some companies just charge a fee so the agent can send a resume to all that sign up in their assigned zip codes.  That’s right, they don’t need to be qualified, they only need a bank account.

Money is changing hands before you even get into the market.  Your name, email address and phone number are gold to the companies that sell leads. Major brokerages are not innocent in the practice.  You go to Remax, Weichert, Coldwell Banker, Long and Foster etc. and your name is forwarded to an agent that is either willing to share a large part of the commission earned or an agent that pays a monthly fee for the right to receive “referrals”.  Again, your information is bought and paid for (or bartered for) before you decide to look at homes.

cash

The price varies depending on the source that trades your information.  Regardless, the agent that is calling you may not be the most qualified.  The agent calling you may have one eye on the cost of your referral and another on the amount of homes you are shown.  The agent calling you is viewing the outcome as a return on investment. The agent calling you only had to be willing to pay for the opportunity. I may be crazy, but I believe the agent should be focused on what you need rather than on what will create the best return on his or her investment in a lead system.

cash in hands

Well, I say you deserve the right to cut out the middleman.  I don’t want to pay for your name. I would rather you took the time to see if I might be the right agent for you.  I think if any money changes hands, you should benefit from that,rather than be the product being sold.  I  just think there is a better way.

Firms like Zillow, Trulia, etc. make the majority of their income from charging agents (that subscribe to their service) a fee for every lead generated. Other firms charge a percentage of the commission earned. The majority of them only know about DC from what they see on CNN. Regardless, they are offering you the “expert”. The only verifiable skill set used to qualify the agent is their ability to pay the lead companies monthly statement.. You deserve better.It seems like from the moment you go online searching for a home, everybody has their hand in the pot.

Well, from where I sit, it is your damn pot. It only seems fair that you have the first dibs on “hands in”. So, here is your chance at reducing the amount of money you spend on purchasing a home.

moneyinhand

I would rather pay you a rebate, after the purchase of a home.  I would rather share money with you after a sale than pay for the chance to represent you in the beginning.  Rebates to buyers are perfectly legal in the State of Maryland.  The amount of money rebated from me will be related to what I earn on the sale.  This is not discount representation, this is an open disclosure of the value of working with you. This offer is only valid if your first contact with me is through the form below or my brokers website (c21nm.com)

Rebates for buyers, now that is a better way for both of us. If we meet and you don’t think I can do the job, well as they say “no harm, no foul”.  If you do find that I am more than qualified to represent you and your interests, it is a win-win situation.  Again, the offer is only valid for those consumers that make their first contact with me through the form below or through my brokers website (c21nm.com)

 

Dollarsignshouses

Interested, fill out the form, If not, well you can always take your chances with someone who chose to buy your name.  In either case, best of luck in your home search.

My name is John MacArthur. I am with Century 21 New Millennium and I invite you to experience the difference. For purposes of this offer, YOU MUST USE THE FORM BELOW AS YOUR INITIAL MEANS OF CONTACT WITH ME. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Is now a good time to buy a home?

Is now a good time to buy a home? This is another one of those questions that seems to be cropping up everywhere lately. It may be the result of the self serving advertisements run by the NAR and lenders and real estate agents. You have seen them. “Interest rates are at historically low levels”, “Home prices have leveled off”, and the real doozy “Real estate is the best investment you can make”.

I am reminded of an old rock n’ roll song “Don’t believe all those lies, darlin’ just believe your eyes”.  Can we begin with one basic fact.  You are an individual. While some statements above may be true in your case, that are not true for everyone.  You need to make a decision based on your circumstances. Ignore the hype and deal with the facts.

Your decision should not be as hard as it seems.  First, you have to decide if after careful review of all facts, you can buy a home…do you really want to buy a home.  If the answer to that question is no, don’t bother going through the exercise.  You have to want to own a home.  Owning just because you can is not enough. If you want to own a home, there is a good chance you will appreciate the home and you will take care of the home (and when times get rough, you won’t just walk away from the home).

So, you have decided, Yes you do want to own a home.  Let’s try and answer for you, is now a good time to buy a home?  Look at your current living situation.  It does not matter how much you are paying in rent right now. You have to decide how much you are comfortable paying for housing every month.  You have to decide upon a figure that you will pay every month.  The amount should not leave you broke.  You will need to save money from the day you move into the home until the day you retire. Things come up. Appliances wear out, plumbing springs leaks, lawns need maintenance, etc.  Owning is more than eating, sleeping and watching television.

Once you determine how much you are comfortable paying each month, you can do some basic math to see if you should proceed.  Just for general principles, divide the monthly figure you came up with by 6. (eg. 1800 per month divieded by 6 equals 300).  The figure you have now is just about the amount you would pay in principal and interest for a  $300,000  loan.  This is not exact, it is a ball park figure.  It is just to give you a general idea of what you might be able to afford.

Your next step is to sign on the internet and pull up real estate for sale in the price range you have determined. (In the example, you might pull up homes ranging from $275,000 to $300,000.)  Look at what your money might buy and look at what your money might buy in the area you would like to live.  Now you have some information that is useful in determining if now is a good time to buy a home.

Now, if there is nothing you would want to own at this point in your search, you have answered the question. Now is not a good time to buy a home.  If what you are comfortable paying will only cover rent in an area, then you should rent until your situation changes.

You see, it is always a good time to buy a home.  It just may not be the best time for you to buy a home.  All the advertising and slick talking salesmen can not change facts.  It is a good time for you to buy a home when you can comfortably afford to buy a home in the area you wish to live.

If you would like to have me help you analyze your personal situation, CONTACT ME.  I would rather point you in the right direction and help you in the future than lead you down the wrong path and destroy a relationship forever.