Sears Real Estate



Posted by Sears Real Estate on 12/4/2017

The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.

How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?

There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
  • Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
  • Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!
If coming up with a sufficient down payment is an issue for you, your real estate agent or loan officer can work with you to brainstorm possible solutions and alternative strategies. For some first-time home buyers, the best plan is to postpone your house buying plans for a couple years until you can improve your credit score and set aside several thousand dollars for a down payment.





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 6/12/2017

Launching a search for your next home can be a daunting prospect -- especially if you're a first-time home buyer. It's not only a life-changing decision that will have "ripple effects" for years to come, but it's also one of the largest financial commitments you'll every make. So there is a little "pressure" associated with this choice!

The good news is that once you're approved for a mortgage and you know what you want (and can afford) in your next home, then the actual searching part should be a "piece of cake!" Well, as you can imagine, things can and sometimes DO go wrong along the way, but there are effective strategies for simplifying the process and increasing the probability that you'll be delighted with the house you finally close on.

Identify Your Priorities

Knowing what your priorities are and being familiar with all the different features you'll need to evaluate are the first steps to a successful house-hunting campaign. Your real estate agent can be enormously helpful in asking you the right questions, pinpointing your preferences, and guiding you toward the house that will offer the best combination of features, qualities, and characteristics.

Rarely will you find the property that is absolutely perfect in every imaginable way, but when you're clear about the important things you're not willing to compromise on, your final choice is bound to be one that fulfills your requirements and makes you happy! Also keep in mind that once you're the owner, you can customize, decorate, and landscape that home to become whatever you want it to be. Perhaps the only two things that are set in stone are the location and the proximity of the house to neighbors.

I don't know whether this saying has been attributed to any particular person, but it contains a lot of truth about achieving goals, attaining happiness, and finding the home of your dreams: "If you don't know exactly what you want, it's highly unlikely you're going to find it!" That holds true whether you're looking for the ideal job, home, or life partner.

So the question is "How can you zero in on what you need, want, and would find the most satisfying in a house?" Your real estate agent can help you create a priority list or provide you with a boilerplate list that you can work from. If you haven't chosen an agent yet, there is a free home-buying checklist available from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are literally dozens of items you'll factor into your home-buying decision, including the square footage, the quality of the neighborhood, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the condition of the roof, electrical, and mechanical systems, the size of the backyard, proximity to neighbors, and whether it's conveniently located near supermarkets, medical offices, parks, recreation, good schools, transportation, highways, entertainment, shopping, and much more. The bottom line is this: When you're organized, focused, and clear about what you're looking for in a new home, you're well positioned for a successful outcome!




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Posted by Sears Real Estate on 4/24/2017

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether youíre moving into an apartment or buying a home together, itís important to break down how youíll merge your finances together. 


While itís one of the least romantic conversations that youíll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below youíll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.


Be Honest


In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Thereís a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and itís important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:


  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

Itís important to know how another personís habits will affect you as a whole when youíre thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someoneís spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.



Have A Plan For How Youíll Divide Expenses


It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 


Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the ďexpenses.Ē This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.


Use A Joint Account For Expenses


You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldnít be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 


Make Contracts


No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, itís always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, youíll always have a contract that you can refer back to. Itís also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, itís important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     


Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.





Posted by Sears Real Estate on 4/3/2017

Want to find your dream house quickly and effortlessly? You're not alone. In fact, many homebuyers across the United States browse the real estate market regularly in the hopes of finding their perfect residence.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways for homebuyers to accelerate the process of purchasing a house, and here are three tips to help homebuyers discover their dream houses without delay.

1. Set Realistic Expectations for Your Home.

When it comes to finding a residence, it is important to note that every house has its strengths and weaknesses. Thus, you'll want to set realistic expectations before you begin your search for the perfect home and differentiate the must-haves from the must-wants.

For example, you will need electricity, hot water and other utilities at your new home. On the other hand, you may want a house that features an indoor swimming pool, a fenced-in backyard and other deluxe amenities, but you need to keep in mind that you can live without these features as well.

Make a checklist of what you need and what you want from a future house. By doing so, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to checking out houses that fulfill your needs perfectly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage.

What good is finding your dream home if you are unable to afford it? Instead, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your home search Ė you'll be glad you did. This will allow you to establish a budget for your home search and browse properties accordingly.

Don't forget to consult with multiple lenders as you explore your mortgage options. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can find out about all of the financing options that are available.

Furthermore, be sure to check your credit score and get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian). You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus annually. And if you obtain a copy of your credit report, you can find out your credit score, work to improve it and boost your chances of securing a mortgage.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent.

Hiring a real estate agent is essential for those who want to accelerate the homebuying process, and for good reason. With a friendly, professionally trained real estate agent at your side, you can learn about new homes that are available, submit offers on residences and more.

Your real estate agent will act as a liaison between you and a home seller. As such, he or she will work on your behalf to ensure you can purchase your dream home as quickly as possible.

Find a real estate agent to help you move along the homebuying process. This housing market expert will be happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries, and ultimately, make it easy to navigate each step of the homebuying journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sears Real Estate on 3/27/2017

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.




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