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Home-Buying Dictionary: Words and Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Home-Buying Dictionary

 

Words & Definitions to Know for Anyone Buying a Home

 

Buying a home is a complicated process, and first-time homebuyers, in particular, can find the process overwhelming.  Anyone who has bought a home can attest to the fact that there are many steps to buying a home, and that there is a lot of room for mistakes to be made during the process.  This prospect is daunting enough to a first-time homebuyer, and to make things more complicated, they often are faced with a feeling of ignorance due to not being familiar with the common phrases and definitions that are associated with real estate transactions.  This is a beginner’s guide to real estate terms that are important to know.

 


Acceptance

Acceptance happens when the party who received an offer accepts its terms and thereby creates a contract between the two parties.  If a Buyer puts forth an offer to purchase real estate and receives acceptance from the seller, the contract is begun.  Likewise, if a seller counteroffers the buyers’ original offer, and the buyer accepts the terms of the counteroffer, acceptance has been reached and the contract is binding.

 

Appraisal

An appraisal is an estimation of a home or property’s market value.  Appraisals are completed by licensed appraisers, and they look at comparable homes that recently sold near the home in question.  Appraisals are typically ordered by lenders during the home financing process to ensure that the investment the lender is considering is a worthy one.  If the appraisal results indicate that the home’s value is less than the loan amount, the lender may refuse to finance the loan.

 

Closing

The closing date is when the ownership of the home is transferred from the seller to the Buyer.  A closing takes place at a title company, where both buyer and seller will settle all credits and debits before signing the paperwork to transfer ownership of the home.  The certificate of title, abstract, and deed are prepared by an attorney, and the buyer signs the lender's mortgage paperwork.  The closing date is typically established during the negotiation stage of buying a home, but it is subject to certain criteria that could cause the date to change.  The closing essentially finalizes the original contract entered into by the buyer and seller.

 

Closing Costs

Closing costs are expenses other than the cost of the property in the transaction, and they are paid during the closing.  Closing costs can be incurred by either the Buyer or seller.  Closing costs typically include such expenses as the escrow fees, the real estate agent commission, the attorney fee, the appraisal, the inspection, the attorney’s fee, and more.  Some closing costs are tax-deductible, so be sure to save your closing statement and have it handy, come tax-time.

 

Commission

The commission is the money typically paid by the seller to a real estate agent as compensation for finding a Buyer and completing the sale.  The commission can be a flat fee or a percentage of the sale price, depending on the agency agreement.

 

Contingency

Contingency is a word that means that a certain condition must be met before a contract is legally binding.  When a contract is contingent on something, a provision in the contract clearly states that some or all of the terms of the contract will be altered or voided by the occurrence of a specific event, usually by specific dates leading up to the closing.  For instance, a contingency clause in a contract can state that if the Buyer doesn’t approve the inspection report for the property, the buyer can back out of the contract.  The two most common contingencies in the home buying process are that the home must pass the inspection and the borrower must be approved for the loan.

 

Counteroffer

A counteroffer occurs when a seller has made an offer on a property that rendered a response of a different offer from the seller.  When a counteroffer is made on real property, it essentially nullifies the original offer, giving the Buyer a chance to refuse and not be accountable for their initial offer in any way.  A counteroffer is intended to begin negotiations for a transaction to occur, depending on the amount and terms agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller.

 

Disclosure

A disclosure is a legal document that a seller is required to sign when listing their home for the purpose of disclosing any major physical defects in the house that they are aware of, as well as the presence of lead-based paint, radon, or other potentially hazardous materials, conditions, or contaminants.  A Buyer, before asking their agent to prepare an offer for a home, should ask to see the disclosures to make sure that there are no major hazards within the home that would prompt them to not move forward with the purchase.  When putting in an offer, a buyer will be required to sign the disclosures to acknowledge that they have read and understood them. 

 

Downpayment

The downpayment is the amount of money to be paid by the Buyer to the seller upon signing the closing paperwork.  The buyers’ loan amount is the downpayment subtracted from the purchase price from the home.

 

Earnest Money

Earnest money is a deposit made to the seller from the Buyer.  An earnest money deposit is intended to show the sellers the buyers’ good faith in their offer and intent to proceed with the transaction.  If the sale goes through, the earnest money deposit counts toward the downpayment of the home.  Unless the offer to purchase expressly states that the earnest money will be refundable if the sale does not go through, the buyer typically forfeits the earnest money in the event that the contract is not executed.  It is important to note that an earnest money deposit is not necessary to offer; it is simply to imply good faith to the seller.  Furthermore, it is not necessary that earnest money be money at all; it can be in any form that is deemed acceptable by both buyer and seller.

 

Escrow

Escrow typically refers to the escrow account, in which funds are held until the occurrence of a sale, afterwhich the funds are released to a designated individual.  Typically the escrow account holds money from the Buyer for the lender; the escrow account will store the mortgage payments, which can consist of the principal, interest, and insurance. 

 

Home Inspection

A home inspection is usually ordered by the Buyer in a real estate transaction for the purpose of obtaining a report on the home’s condition.  A home inspection is carried out by a licensed inspector, who, after completion of inspection, provides both buyer and seller with a report detailing any concerns, repairs, maintenance, or potential issues that exist within the home. 

 

Home Warranty

Sometimes offered by a seller to give their home a competitive edge in the marketplace, a home warranty covered the costs of repairs to specified parts of the home over a specified period of time.  The home warranty, if offered, is provided by the seller as a condition of the sale.  However, a Buyer can request a home warranty and write it into their offer on the home.

 

Homeowners' Association

A homeowners’ association is an organization made up of residents in a neighborhood who are concerned with managing and maintaining common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex.  Many homeowners’ associations require a monthly or annual fee from residents of the neighborhood that contributes to the maintenance of those common areas.  The association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants and restrictions that apply to homes in the neighborhood.

 

Homeowners’ Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is a form of insurance specifically to protect a home and its possessions from damage.  A lender will require some documentation of homeowners’ insurance while processing your loan, because the lender also wishes to protect his investment in your home.

 

Mortgage

A mortgage is a lien on real property given by the Buyer to a lender as security for money borrowed.  The loan term, interest rate, and type of loan within the mortgage is typically decided upon by an in-depth assessment of a client's finances and current situation with the help of a lender.  

 

Multiple Listing Service

The Multiple Listing Service is a computer-based service commonly referred to as the MLS.  It provides real estate agents a number of services and benefits.  Agents use the MLS to disburse their listings to other agents, so that any agents working with buyers can easily see if the property is something that their client would be interested in.  An agent can also look to the MLS to get comparable properties to help the seller decide on a fair and reasonable asking price for their home.  The MLS isn’t just a tool for agents, however.  The MLS also serves as an exporter of listings and their information to other websites that the public has access to, such as REALTOR.COM or Zillow.

 

Offer

When you find the home that you would like to purchase, your real estate agent will prepare an offer to be submitted to the seller.  This offer contains the date of your offer, a description of the property, the amount of your earnest money deposit, the amount of money you are wanting to pay for the property, financing details, your name and address as well as the seller’s name and address, the closing date, and any other special requirements or contingencies you’d want to ask for.

 

Pre-Approval

Pre-Approval takes place after pre-qualification, and it tends to be a much more complicated and involved process than pre-qualification.  For pre-approval, potential borrowers will complete a mortgage application and supply the lender with all the documentation necessary for them to complete an extensive examination of your credit and finances.  After this analyzation, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved, meaning that you will have a more concrete idea of what homes you can look for.  With pre-approval, potential borrowers then receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, even if the potential Buyer hasn’t yet found a property they’re interested in.  Pre-approval usually happens after finding a home on which to make an offer, but it can be done during the Home Search.  Doing this step earlier can actually give potential buyers an advantage with a potential seller, because it’s one less step that must be completed for the contract to continue.  Once a buyer has found the home they are wanting to purchase, they only need to fill in the property information and they are ready to proceed with funding.

 

Pre-Qualification

Pre-qualification is the initial step in the mortgage process, and it should be done prior to beginning the Home Search.  The process of getting pre-qualified allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have with your lender, and your lender can explain your various options and give his or her recommendations.  The pre-qualification process begins by supplying your lender with your overall financial situation, including debt, income, and assets.  The lender then analyzes your situation and can give you an idea of the mortgage amount you will likely qualify for.  Often, the pre-qualification process can be done simply, quickly, and over the phone or online.  The reason that this step should be done before the home search begins is because it allows buyers to look only at homes in their price range.  Often, without prequalification, a Buyer will fall in love with a home outside of their price range, and will subsequently be let down by every home that comes on the market, no matter how perfect or lovely the home may be. 

 

Restrictive Covenants

Private restrictions limiting the use of real property. Restrictive covenants are created by deed and may "run with the land," binding all subsequent purchasers of the land, or may be "personal" and binding only between the original seller and Buyer. The determination whether a covenant runs with the land or is personal is governed by the language of the covenant, the intent of the parties, and the law in the State where the land is situated. Restrictive covenants that run with the land are encumbrances and may affect the value and marketability of title. Restrictive covenants may limit the density of buildings per acre, regulate size, style or price range of buildings to be erected, or prevent particular businesses from operating or minority groups from owning or occupying homes in a given area. (This latter discriminatory covenant is unconstitutional and has been declared unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

 

Survey

A map or plat made by a licensed surveyor showing the results of measuring the land with its elevations, improvements, boundaries, and its relationship to surrounding tracts of land. A survey is often required by the lender to assure him that a Building is actually sited on the land according to its legal description.

 

Underwriting

The process by which a lender decides whether to make a loan to a potential home Buyer based on an in-depth analysis of credit, employment, assets, and other factors and the weighing of this risk to an appropriate rate, term, and loan amount.

 

Zoning Ordinances

Zoning ordinances are the regulations set forth by local government that dictate what kind of property use can be utilized within a certain property.  For instance, some zoning restrictions will prevent property being utilized as farm land.  Zoning ordinances also are regulatory forces regarding Building permits and what kind of improvements can be made to property.

 

While this isn't a complete list of every term that a Buyer will be exposed to during the Home Search and purchase process, it provides a basic knowledge of terms, at the least.  It is important for homebuyers to ask questions during the process, if ever they feel confused about what is happening or like things are too moving too fast.  Choose an agent that you are comfortable with and who suits your personality.  During the lending process, too, it is important that you choose a lender with whom you feel comfortable with and who gave you the best options for your situation.  Never be afraid to ask questions, because professionals in the industry know that there is a lot to know.  They have no problem helping you along the way.

What to Do After You Buy a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

You Bought a House!  …Now What?

 

There are some things that you can do when you move into a new house to improve the life of your appliances and fixtures and improve security, among other things.  Some of these things are common sense ideas, and some of them probably wouldn’t be brought to mind unless specifically identified.  For those who haven’t moved in many years, as well as those who are first-time homebuyers, remembering to take all these important measures when you move into a new place can be overwhelming, so we compiled this list of things that new homeowners should be doing when they move into a new house.

 

 


Change the Locks

 


 

The first and most important thing you should do when you move into a new place is change the locks on all the exterior doors.  You may know and trust the previous owners of the home, but you can never know how many other people may have a spare key.  It’s always best to have a locksmith scheduled for day one in the new house.

 

Transfer Utilities

 

 

After your closing, you will want to transfer all the utilities into your name.  If you are wanting to have cable or internet in your home, you will want to schedule the installation as soon as possible, so that you will have those services when you move in. 

 

Home Insurance

 

 

You will want to be sure to have your home insured as soon as possible, because no one plans that their home should catch fire or be hit by a bad storm.  Talk to your insurance agent about what coverage plans work best for you and your needs, and it’d be a good idea to talk to a few other agents to see what they would recommend and what their rates would be, comparatively.

 

File Important Documents

 

 

When you get your closing statement, make two copies of it, and file the original in a fireproof safe or at your safety deposit box.  The copies can be kept in a home binder to help you keep track of all the documents with your new home.  In this binder, you can keep copies of any important paperwork, as well as things like paint swatches and receipts. 

 

Contact Your Accountant

 

 

There are many costs that come along with buying a home, and some of those are deductible on your next year’s taxes.  Take one of the copies of your closing statement to your accountant, and he or she should be able to tell you what expenses you can use to your advantage when filing taxes next year. 

 

Photograph It

 

 

Before you begin moving things into your new home, photograph each room, fixture, and appliance.  You probably also want to photograph your possessions; at the very least, you should photograph your most expensive possessions.  No one likes to think about the worst-case scenario, especially on an exciting day like the first day in your new home, but the fact of the matter is that accidents do happen, and you should be aware of what was in your home, so keep those photos in a safety deposit box or store the files in the cloud.  To be sure that you are photographing the right things, call your insurance agent to ask his or her advice on what to focus on.

 

Get Familiar with Your New Home

 

 

Take a good walk around your home and familiarize yourself to all the important places and things.  For instance, it’s important that you locate your home’s main water shut-off valve so that you will be able to minimize damage in the event that a pipe bursts.  Label all the breakers on your breaker box.  Check that there are no leaks in your plumbing and under your sinks.  Check your attic to see if you need to add more insulation to save on heating and cooling costs.  Make sure that all home maintenance projects that need addressing sooner, rather than later, are close to being addressed.  As you are doing this, make a list of everything in your new home that needs updated or repaired, and then rearrange the items on that list in order of importance.  To go one step further, add dates for when you would like those tasks completed to the list to keep yourself on track and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

 

Pest Control

Before you move into your new home, you should consult a pest control specialist to have him or her come to your house to inspect for any possible infestations or pest issues.  They can also do a preemptive spray for common bugs.  Especially if the previous owners of the home you are moving into had pets, you should ask a pest control specialist about having your home sprayed for fleas.

 

Deep Clean

 

 

You want to walk into your new home and feel excited; you certainly don’t want to walk inside and wonder how many germs are hanging around from the previous owner.  This is why it is important to deep clean your home before you move in.  If you wish to do the deep cleaning yourself, that’s fine, but if you wish to focus on other things during the move, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to come clean for you.  Here is a list of what you should be focusing on while cleaning:

-  Carpets

 Steam clean any and all carpeting in your new home… After running over the floors with a vacuum a few times, of course.

-  Floors

Even if you don’t have carpets, be sure to do a deep clean on all your flooring surfaces, even behind the refrigerator.  A newly scrubbed floor will make your new home truly feel like yours.

-  Kitchen

Everyone knows how quickly a kitchen can get dirty… and not just cluttered or messy, but downright gross.  That’s a great reason why you should do an extreme deep clean of your kitchen when you move in.  You don’t want to be thinking of someone else’s germs as you’re cooking your first meal in your new home.

-  Bathrooms

Similarly to kitchens, bathrooms tend to be havens for germs and all things unsanitary.  Give your bathroom a complete scrub-down, including wiping the walls down with a damp cloth.  You will feel so much better knowing that the bathroom of your new home is fresh.

 

Air Conditioning and Furnace

 

 

When you move into your new place, one of the first things you should do is change your air filters.  This can save a lot of money on heating and cooling, as well as giving you a definite time of when it was most recently replaced so you can get set up on a regular maintenance schedule.

To ensure that your furnace and air conditioner have a long life, it is important to have them routinely serviced.  As a new homeowner, you never know for sure how often and how recently the heating or air conditioning systems have been serviced.  It’s also a worthwhile endeavor, because it can mean saving on your energy bills, as well!

 

Change Address

 

 

Before you move in, you will want to submit a forward request to your post office, so that the mail addressed to you at your old address will be re-routed to your new address.  It’s also important that you let other service providers, friends, and family know of your new address, as forward requests are only good for so long.  Once they expire, mail addressed to you at your old address will be sent back to the sender.  Most importantly, you should let your bank, credit card company, employer, service providers, and friends and family know of your change of address.

 

Smoke Detectors & CO Monitors

 

 

When you first move in, you will want to change the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Even if the batteries inside them are still good, it’s recommended that you use those batteries elsewhere and put new ones in your detectors.  This way, you will easily be able to keep track of the schedule to change their batteries, since they will all have been changed on the same day.  

 

Get Moving!

 

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  It may be exciting to get a new home, but the task of packing and unpacking all of one’s possessions is not exactly a walk in the park.  We have put forth some resources to help those looking to move in the near future.  To see our tips on moving, click here.

 

Enjoy Your New Home

 

 

The most important thing you can do when you move into your new home is enjoy the excitement that comes along with it.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the home buying process or the moving process.  These lists serve as a tool to help home buyers be more proactive and feel that they are more organized and in control of the mania that can come along with a home purchase.  At one point during closing day and the days that follow, allow yourself to just enjoy the excitement!

 

 

 

 

While this list is helpful, it is not meant to be comprehensive, as with all of our posts.   Hopefully it helped you think of a few things you should do when closing day comes around.

17 Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

17 of Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  Sure, there are some great things that come along with a move.  The excitement of getting a new home, new neighbors, and new opportunities can be amazing to experience.  The prospect of packing up and subsequently unpacking your entire life, however, is a daunting task.  There are some things that you can do to make the whole process easier on yourself, and we have compiled a list of our best ideas.

 

 

 


Make a List


Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the weeks ahead of the move.  Make this checklist 2 months before the move, so that you feel more confident and organized as moving day approaches.  It’s easy to think that you will be able to keep all the tasks straight in your mind, but the fact of the matter is that you will forget some of the things you need to do.  Furthermore, making the list often helps you remember things that you forgot to put on the list as moving day approaches.

 

 


Packing Made Easier

 

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but failure to do this one tip can cause a lot more frustration, time lost, and feelings that you are going into a move unorganized.  Keep all your packing supplies in a laundry basket, so that you can easily carry it from room to room when the desire to pack strikes you.  This basket should contain:  zippered plastic baggies, sharpies, labels, colored markers (if you are color coordinating your boxes), plastic shopping bags and newspapers for cushioning, boxes of a variety of sizes, and any other supplies you have found to be helpful in packing.

 

 

 

Pack and Label the Essentials

 

It can be tough to pack up your entire home and feel like you are doing so in any manner that is remotely organized or planned.  Most often, homeowners get to their new house and become overwhelmed with a feeling that can be summed up with the phrase, “Where do I begin?”  (The same can often be said for those homeowners who are preparing for a move).  To see a list that we have compiled of all the things you should be thinking about having easily accessible on your first day in the new house, click here.

 


 

Mark Boxes Well

 

Obviously, you should be writing the contents on the outside of every box you seal.  You should also be labeling boxes with what room the contents will belong in, so that you can get a handle on some organization even when you are carrying boxes into your new home and stacking them where there’s space.  Also consider these possible labels:  Fragile, First-Night, Do Not Load, and Load Last.  These specific labels help minimize the risk of things getting broken, misplaced, or crammed in the back of the truck when you really need the box’s contents right when you get to the new house.

 

 

Moving Electronics

 

Take a picture of the back of your electronics before you begin unplugging all those cords.  This will make setting it back up so much easier when you get to your new place!

 

Keep cords and hardware for electronics all together.  For cords and cables, toilet paper tubes standing up in a shoebox often work great to keep your cords organized and untangled.  The box then simply gets labeled with the name of the electronic equipment it belongs to.  For other kinds of hardware, consider using plastic baggies with zippers.  They help keep everything together, and can be clearly labeled so they don’t get confused with other objects.

 

 


Heavy Items

 

For your heavy items, such as books, consider using your rolling luggage to move these items.  For one thing, using the bags you already have can save work, space, and money, since they have to be moved anyways.  Utilize their space and ability to be transferred by rolling rather than carrying.  Your back will thank you for this trick.

 

 

General Tips for Moving that we have found to be SUPER helpful…

 

Be sure that you drain any lawn or home equipment that holds oil or gas before you attempt to move those pieces.

Thaw your refrigerator two days before the move if you are taking it with you when you go. 

 

Use Styrofoam plates in between your nice set of plates to keep them from breaking

 

Brown paper bags can work just as well as newspaper for glassware and other fragile items

 

Wine boxes work extremely well for moving glassware in a safe and organized way

 

Connect necklaces and bracelets through toilet paper or paper towel rolls to keep them from tangling during the move.

 

Use labeled zippered plastic baggies for any hardware that has to come out of furniture or other objects for the items to make it through the move.   This will keep them from getting lost or mixed up with other objects’ hardware.

 

Cover toiletries in plastic wrap and then screw their lids on.  Do this regardless of how tightly they seem like they are on.  It hardly takes any time, and the hassle it could save from an accident is totally worth the extra time and effort.

 

Use a slow cooker to store spices in to keep them safe and to utilize the space.  Double win!

 

Cover drawers in plastic wrap (tightly) so that you don’t have to unload and pack up every drawers contents.  You just have to remove the plastic wrap and put the drawers back in the furniture in their new location!

 

Keep any hanging clothes on their hangers, just fold them into a trash bag, cinch it at the hanger tops, and carry them by the hangers.  This will make unpacking the bedroom and closets so much easier.

 

This list may not contain every great moving hack, but these are the ones we found most effective... And we hope you will, too!

Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

 

The process of buying a home is both exciting and stressful.  There are so many aspects that play into your Home Search and eventual purchase.  Hopefully, if you are going through this process, you have hired a fantastic real estate agent who is helping ease some of that stress.  In this process, where tensions can tend to run high, it’s important to not get carried away with any of the stress or the excitement.  Sometimes buyers dismiss wonderful homes due to very minor issues, simply because they don’t understand the details of the problem.  Opposite that, sometimes buyers get so excited about a particular house that they fail to look at it objectively and don’t ask the questions they need to be asking.  Here is a list for those of you who are emotionally driven, because it can be difficult to think of the right questions to ask when you are filled with excitement about a home.

 


 

Can I see the seller’s disclosures?

 

It is very important that you get all the information you can about the home you may potentially Buy.  A seller’s disclosure will have information regarding the safety and details about the home.  No matter how excited you may be about the possibility of buying this home, it’s important that you look at the seller’s disclosure objectively.  It may reveal an issue that should be a deal-breaker for your current circumstances, but you may have a vision clouded by excitement.

 

What are the zoning guidelines?

 

This is important for a number of reasons.  If you plan on adding on to the house, you will need to know what the zoning restrictions are and what that entails for you and your home.  One thing to consider when buying a home and considering the zoning guidelines is the future.  It’s easy to look at your life and what you need at the moment to find a home that will work for you, but you also need to consider where you’ll be in five years, as well as how long you may end up staying in that particular home, on the generous end.

 

For another thing, if you are planning on ever raising animals at the house you are looking to Buy (like chickens, cows, goats, etc), you need to be sure that the home you are buying has the right zoning for that to happen.

 

What home inspections are available?

 

It’s important for you to try and understand all that you can about this home.  Ask for the results of the home inspection, because there may be details of issues that still remain in the home.  Furthermore, if there are any that have been remedied, you may get an idea of any potential problems to arise again. 

 

Why is this home for sale?

 

More than likely, you will get a generic answer, because a Buyer isn’t going to be inclined to tell you if the reason they are selling their home is something that could steer you away from purchasing their home, however, it’s important for you to ask this question nonetheless.  For instance, if the sellers answer that the house no longer accommodates their growing family, you may want to consider how long you may live in this house and if you are likely to run into a similar issue.

 

How old are the appliances?

 

You, as the Buyer, should inquire about any of the appliances being included in the sale of the home.  Find out when they were purchased and whether the seller bought or received a warranty on the appliances.   This may give you some insight into how soon you may have to be spending a decent chunk of change on new appliances, and for that reason, it is very important to ask.  Furthermore, if the seller bought the hot water heater ten years ago, when you move in, you may want to drain the appliance to remove any sediment build-up and to extend the life of the water heater.

 

What updates have been made to the home?

 

Be sure to ask about whether or not the sellers made any updates or improvements to the home and how long ago the updates took place.  These facts can be very helpful to know!  For instance, if the home recently received a new roof, you will have a better idea of when you will need to get the roof done on the house.

 

What’s the average cost of utility payments?

 

Just because you can afford the monthly home loan payments does not necessarily mean that you can afford to pay the bills once you move in.  The monthly living expenses you will encounter once you move should definitely be factors you are considering in your Home Search.  If the house is much larger than your current or last home, you may be shocked at the extra energy required for every day usage.  Also, an older home often is less insulated, meaning that energy bills will go up more than expected during the summer and winter months.  Be sure that the utility bills are within your budget range before you fall in love with a home.

 

What are the annual taxes?

 

The cost of the yearly taxes for a home are even more important to know than the average utility bill cost.  Taxes can end up being a large amount, and it is important to know what they will likely be before you move forward in purchasing the home.  To consider whether or not you can afford the taxes for a home, do the math from last year’s tax bill, which your real estate agent will be happy to provide you with, and break it down into monthly payments.  Chances are, if you are looking into buying a home, you have figured out your monthly expenses and income.  If not, it’s a good time to do so.  Add in the monthly cost of the taxes, and be honest in your consideration of whether that will leave you enough money to be comfortable with.

 

Ultimately, there are so many questions that could possibly be asked before you Buy a home, and they would differ enormously depending on what is important to each individual situation.  However, hopefully this list served as a guide to start thinking about what questions will be important to you.  Don’t ever hesitate to ask your real estate agent about what questions you should be asking, either.  They have a lot of experience in the field, and they want you to feel confident moving forward.

Moving Day Check List

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

Moving Day Check List

 A list of important items that you definitely want to have accessible for that first night in the new house

Pack a "Moving Box" full of these essential items for Moving Day!

 



Over-Night Bag

Pack yourself a bag filled with all the items you would bring with you if you were staying overnight somewhere.  Fill it with any items you would need in an overnight situation, such as: toothbrush/toothpaste, hair brush, clothes to sleep in, clothes to wear the following day, clean socks and shoes, and any medications you may need.

Toiletry Bag

Fill a bag with those items that are used on a daily basis or an almost daily basis, such as contact lens solution, make up, shower supplies, hair accessories, etc.

Plastic-Ware

Whether you're planning on packing some bread and deli meats for dinner or you have plans to order take-out, plastic-ware is a must.  You'll want to be able to comfortably eat whatever food you have, and chances are, you'll have been so busy moving that you won't have the kitchen unpacked yet.  Take a bit of the stress off your shoulders and pack some plates, bowls, and utensils. Don't forget the paper towels, either!

Pet Food & Bowls

If you are moving with a pet, make sure that you plan for his or her dinner as well as your own.  Pack a few plastic baggies with one meal's portion of food, and have those dog bowls easily accessible.  

Towels

Moving can be quite the dirty job.  Prepare for how badly you are going to want to wash your hands before you eat and shower before you go to sleep by packing bath towels, wash rags, and hand towels in your first night box.

Shower Curtain Liner

This is one that often gets forgotten.  If you are moving into a home that does not have a shower door and instead utilizes a shower curtain, make sure you pack a waterproof shower curtain so that you can actually take the shower you will definitely be desiring after moving day is done... Without getting water all over your new bathroom floor.

Lightbulbs

The previous homeowner typically leaves lightbulbs that are in the house, but just in case the house is dimly lit, or you'd like to use one of the lamps you brought as the night is winding down, bring along a few lightbulbs so that you can do so.

Coffee, Coffee Maker, & Coffee Filters

If you are a coffee drinker, you will definitely be struggling when the first morning after the move comes around, and if your coffee maker and supplies are packed away, it's certainly not going to help the situation.  Don't forget the coffee mugs, either!

Dish Soap

It won't be long before you will be wanting to do some dishes in your new home.  Whether you just want to get the coffee dishes out of the way after that first morning, or you are ready to start unpacking the kitchen and want to wash moving dust off of your dishes before you put them away, you'll be needing the dishsoap.

Bedding & Pillows

Make sure you have your bedding and pillows easily accessible, because, when you're in a new place, nothing feels better than getting to lay down in your own bed.  Not to mention, you'll be exhausted from the move...

Door Mat

This item, though it doesn't seem very high-priority, should be packed so accessibly that it's one of the first things you pull out of the truck.  Minimize the amount of grass, dust, or raindrops get into your home through the many trips back and forth by laying down a door mat first thing.

Rags & Cleaning Supplies

Even if you came in to the house for a cleaning day prior to move-in day, chances are, you are going to find places in the house that could use a cleaning.  Whether you skipped over them while cleaning ahead of time or you made a mess while moving, have your favorite, most-used cleaning products at the ready so that you can pull them out when the situation (inevitably) arises.

Pack a Cooler

Have a "moving cooler" ready to go on moving day to enable easy access to waterbottles, snacks, and everyone's favorite drinks.  Hydration is key!

Pack a Snack Bag

Be ready for the hunger that will certainly set in: ahead of time, pack some of everyone's favorite snacks in a bag and have them accessible.

Toilet Paper

As anyone can understand, this is something you definitely do NOT want to forget to pack in your moving box.  Have a few rolls at the ready, just to be on the safe side!

Hand Soap

Make sure you will be able to wash off that dirt and grime left by handling all those moving boxes by packing hand soap in your moving box.

Scissors

Because scissors come in handy in SO MANY situations, it's always a good idea to have a pair handy.

Utility Knife

Make cutting all that packing tape a little bit easier by packing a utility knife for unpacking.

Phone Charger

While it is unlikely that someone, in today's world, would pack away their phone chargers without realizing that they might need to access them before that box gets opened, it is nonetheless an important item to put on the list.

Garbage bags

Unpacking from a move creates an awful lot of waste.  Have garbage bags packed so that you can put all your recyclables (like newspapers and cardboard) in one, and your trash in another.

Tool Kit

One of the most important items on this list, because it is only when you need access to your tools that you realize just how important those items are.  Moving often requires breaking down of pieces of furniture, and at times, the bumpy moving ride can break down some of our furniture unintentionally.  Remember, you won't be able to start putting items away in those pieces of furniture until you have all the hardware installed and the furniture secured again.


Questions Buyers Should Ask Themselves Before Searching for Homes

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

Questions Buyers Should Ask Themselves Before Searching for Homes

So, you're pre-qualified... Now what?

 

You're ready to start the journey of home ownership, and you've begun to prepare for the search for your perfect home.   You've spoken to a lender, and you've gotten a pre-qualification that will guide you via price range during your search.  Whether you've owned before or are a first-time homebuyer, this next step can be overwhelming.  There are so many resources and beautiful homes at your fingertips... Where should you begin?  It may seem boring, but there's a lot to be said for good, old-fashioned list-making.  Take the time to sit down and go over the things that are important to you in your next home.  If you are buying a home with another individual, it is also important that you both go through this process together.  The list-making can help everyone get on the same page, and then the Home Search can begin!  In case the task of making a list of home requirements and desires seems like a big task, here are some suggestions for criteria.

 

  • Minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Overall square footage
    • If you have no idea about square footage, start with where you're at now.  What is the square footage of the place you're currently living?  Maybe ask some friends and family what the square footage of their homes are to help you get a better idea of what range of square footage is right for you.
  • Open or closed floor plan
    • Do you like the idea of each room being its own closed-up space, or do you like the idea of one large room that allows for spaces to flow into one another?
  • New or Re-Sale
  • House, Condo, Townhouse?
    • Consider what option would be best for you.  Often, first-time buyers don't consider the condominium or townhouse, but they can be a viable option.
  • Space for Office or Bonus Room
    • You know that you'll need two bedrooms, but perhaps you'd also like a space that could work for a studio or office as well.  This is something to consider when looking for a home.  An extra bedroom or space could be used for different purposes.  How important is it to you that you have that space?
  • One or Two Stories
    • Some people LOVE having all living space on one floor, and some people like having it split.  What kind of person are you?
  • Garage, Carport, Off-Street Parking
    • What's your ideal parking situation, and where does it rank in importance?
  • Lot Size
    • Do you really only care about your yard being big enough to fit a barbecue grill, or is it important to you to have room for your kids or pets to run around?
  • Proximity to Places
    • Whether you're looking for a rural home or a suburban home, this can be a vital part of a Home Search.  What places would you like to be close to?  How far is too far away from those places?  What is your cost for mileage driving to work every day?  How much money is too much money to spend on mileage to and from work every day?
Hopefully this list gave you some thinking points to consider when searching for your next home.  Buying a home is a process, and we'd just like to make this process as easy as possible for everyone.
Don't forget- If you ever find yourself needing answers to questions regarding buying or selling, we are here to help you! Visit yourhomeresource.com or call 618.719.3134

IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER FOR THE NEW HOME BUYERS

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 Dan Barnard-2009 President of home builders association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri Wrote a column in the St.louis Post-Dispatch The week of April 5,2009.

New home buyers have something to look forward to, with some credit due to the american recovery and reinvestment act of2009 recently being signed into law, as part of the economic stimulus measures, the legislation created a homebuyers tax credit that is bigger and better than the previous credit that was implemented in July, 2008. The website www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com explains in detail the provisions of the new tax credit. We are seeing significant activity in both the resale and new-home market as first-time buyers take advantage of the credit coupled with record-low mortgage interest rates. In a nutshell, it.

Provides a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the sale price of the home,up to an $8,000 maximum and is a true tax credit. It does not need to be rpaid unless the homeowner sells the home within three years of the purchase. and in Missouri, the Missouri housing development commission has developed a plan to make $6,750 of the tax credit available immediately for down payment! Learn more at www.mhdc.com under Homeownership.

Can only be used with the purchase of a home that will be the buyers principal residence. It cannot be claimed for the purchase of a vaction home or property to be used as a rental.

Is available to first-time homebuyers only with a modified adjusted gross income less than$95,000 for a single tax payers or $170,000 for married filers. A first time home Buyer is defined as someone who has not owned a principal residence for three years or more.

Applies to homes purchased by qualified buyers between Jan 1 and Nov30,2009. The purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title transfers.

Allows unmarried joint purchasers to allocate the credit amount to amy Buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer. Also, a parent who jointly purchases a home with a child can allocate the credit to the child. The same goes for two unmarried people one who owns a home and the other who does not, who purchase a home together befor getting married can allocate the credit to the taxpayer who qualifies as a first-time Homebuyer.This new tax credit provides an uprecedented opportunity for people looking to Buy their first home. Not only will they riceive an $8,000 tax credit, they also will be taking advantage of record-low interest rates, a large selection of homes to choose from and competitive home prices.

House hunters will also find that many builders have inventory that is move-in ready, and may offer upgrades or other incentives to seal the deal. Also, owners of existing homes who are looking to trade-up or relocate are ready to bargain.

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Contact Information

Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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