Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

When it comes to buying your first home, the process can be a bit intimidating. Aside from getting your credit inline and pinpointing an area to focus on as you search for homes, there are other ways you should prepare for your first home buying experience.

Tips for Buying Your First Home

Here are a few tips to help you get started down the path of home buying success:

  • Understand How Much Home You Can Afford: There is more that goes into owning a home than simply a monthly mortgage payment. You’ll want to make sure you can easily cover everything from taxes and insurance to repairs. Try using a mortgage calculator to determine exactly how much home you can afford while still leaving enough money for savings and the rest of your household budget.
  • Connect with a Real Estate Agent: While it might be tempting to try it on your own, enlisting the services of a real estate agent is invaluable, whether it’s your first or fifteenth home purchase. Your real estate agent will be able to provide you insider information about neighborhoods and market trends. In addition to guiding you through the home buying process, they will also serve as your advocate and handle the negotiations and legal requirements along the way.
  • Do Your Homework: Before putting in an offer on your first home, check out the neighborhood thoroughly. Your DeSoto County realtor will be able to provide you with comps of other houses in the area that have sold, along with community stats like crime rates and household demographics. You might want to do a bit of research yourself too. Drive by the house at night and on the weekends to see what the neighborhood is really like. If you’re not familiar with the area, spend a weekend in a local hotel so you can experience the area first-hand.
  • Cover Your Basis: When putting in your offer, consult with your real estate agent. She will guide you through the process and point out potential issues and red flags that might need to be addressed. Together, you can work to develop an offer on your first home that is worthwhile for the seller, but will also protect you as the buyer, with contingencies that will allow you the ability to back out of the deal should something unexpected be discovered along the way.

My Commitment to Your First Home Purchase

As your Realtor, I am committed to being available to you and providing you with exceptional service throughout your real estate transaction with an unmatched level of sincerity and integrity. It’s my goal to earn your trust and build a relationship with you so that together we can achieve your goals and get you to the next chapter in your life.

I would love the opportunity to talk with you and answer any questions you may have about the purchasing process.  You can contact me here or just give me a call at 901-496-4565.

Ready to search for your new home?

Red Flags When Buying a Home

Before you put in an offer on a new home, there are a handful of red flags you’ll want to look for with your realtor. Bad neighborhoods aren’t always easy to spot, so do a bit of digging first. If you see any of these red flags, you should stop and ask some questions.

Home Buying Red Flags

Too Many Houses on the Market: Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a few listed houses on the same street. However, if you see more than just a couple throughout the neighborhood, it might be wise to find out why so many homeowners are wanting to leave the neighborhood all at once.

An overwhelming number of houses that are up for sale in the same neighborhood at the same time could be a sign that the local market is on the downturn.

Empty Storefronts and Commercial Buildings: While you might not be interested in living in an area with a hopping night-life, you still want to be in an area that has a thriving and sustainable economy.

If you find the area has a high number of empty stores and commercial buildings, that is a sign that the area isn’t doing well financially. If the local homeowners can’t afford to go out and support the local businesses, then odds are they aren’t able to handle the upkeep of their houses either.

Low School Enrollment Numbers: Even if you don’t have a school age child, this is a statistic you’ll want to look at because it’s an indicator about the type of neighborhood you’re moving into.

School districts with a healthy enrollment, like those in DeSoto County, will have a steady enrollment rate and not a declining one. Declining numbers mean families aren’t buying in the area, which could make it hard for you to sell your home later or bring down the market value of the home you looking to purchase in the area.

No Parking….Anywhere: If you’re looking at a home with a one-car garage or garage-port, you’ll need to ensure there is still a place for your spouse or friends and family to park when they come over.

If the street has a high traffic volume, parking on the street could be a chore. Not to mention, it potentially puts the parked car in harm’s way. Make sure there are plenty of safe areas close to your house for parking.

Get Home Buying Help

If you’re ready to begin the search for a new home, contact me today. I’ll guide you through the entire process and will make sure you’re home choice doesn’t raise any red flags.

4 Maintenance Tasks for Home Sellers

Just because you’ve put your house on the market doesn’t mean you get to throw in the rake … even if you’ve already moved out. In order to keep your home looking appealing to potential buyers, you need to keep up with basic maintenance. 

Here are four maintenance tasks you want to stay on top of throughout the home selling process:

  • Yard and Walkways: Keep your curb appeal in top form by completing weekly yard maintenance, keep landscaping tidy, and clear all walkways and driveways. If you aren’t able to do this yourself, find a local yard service that can keep things looking prestige on your behalf.
  • Check Gutters and Maintain Roof: Neglecting gutters and roof issues can cause serious side effects. Keep gutters clean to prevent drainage and foundation issues and repair any roof damage.
  • Windows and Screens: Give your home that warm and inviting look by keeping your windows and screens clean. Windows that are covered in gunk are not inviting and might give prospective home buyers the idea that you’re hiding something inside.
  • Heating and AC: From hvac systems to chimneys, keep them clean and tidy. Have a repair crew come out and inspect, clean, and repair any damage before your home goes on the market. You want to ensure these items are in tip-top shape before prospective buyers come into your home.

And to help impress prospective buyers who might drive by to check out the neighborhood, keep your mailbox clutter free and consider installing light timers, both inside and outside, to give your home a warm and appealing glow of happiness.

Selling a Home: Your Home’s First Impression

home stagingWhen it comes to selling your home, there is more to it than simply connecting with a licensed Mississippi real estate agent and popping a For Sale sign in your front yard.  If you want to compete with other houses and draw in prospective homebuyers, then you need to up your curb appeal and home staging game.

Remember how your mom used to tell you about how important it is to make a good first impression?  Well, this is one of those times!  You will only get one shot to impress and draw-in homebuyers, so make sure you’re putting your home’s best foot forward.

Sell a Home: Curb Appeal

Your home’s first impression is its curb appeal — you want your home to be inviting and welcoming from the moment a potential buyer pulls up to the curb.  Remember, you only get one shot to engage with them enough that they’ll want to come in and take a tour, so make sure you put your best foot forward.

Here are a few great ways to create engaging curb appeal:

  • Step one is to tidy up the yard.  Rake up any leaves or branches, remove dead or dying plants from the beds and replace them with fresh seasonal flowers, and mow the yard.
  • Remove excess clutter from the front porch, but leave elements that give a warm and inviting appearances like chairs for sitting, a small table, and a couple of potted plants.
  • The next step is to spruce up the exterior of the house.  By that, we mean the siding, paint, and gutters.  Replace or repair broken pieces and patch openings.
  • Finally, give your windows a good cleaning on both the exterior and interior of your house.

Sell a Home: Home Staging

To give potential buyers that ‘ahhhhhhhh’ moment when they walk through the door, make sure your home staging is on point!  Follow these tips to create the perfect setting:

  • Clear out the clutter by packing away any items that could detract from a potential homebuyer imagining the home as their own — we’re talking pictures, kid’s toys and artwork.  You might also consider decluttering shelves, stashing jewelry and toiletry items in drawers, and ensuring that your bathroom is pristine.
  • You want to make each room appear as spacious as you can, so start by removing and storing furniture that isn’t a necessity.  Another trick to making a room appear bigger is to roll up area rugs and rearrange the furniture that is left to create a more intimate, cozy setting.
  • The next step to perfect home staging is to stay as neutral as possible — and of course, we’re talking paint colors.  Painting is a quick fix that will freshen up the appearance of your home’s interior. Keeping things neutral, like a soft grey or beige color, will help support the buyer’s imagination of what the house could look like if they purchase it.  Plus, the fresh coat of paint gives the appearance of being move-in ready!
  • And finally, create a sense of home and tranquility by setting the mood.  Leaving a plate of warm cookies (without nuts in case of food allergies) and a note will envoke a feeling of love and happiness, enhancing the buyer’s emotional connection to your home.  You can also play calming music in the background.

Have more questions on how to stage your home like a pro?  Contact me and I’ll help you create the perfect first impression!

 

Moving Tips for Homebuyers

You bought a new house — congratulations!  Now the hard work begins as your prepare to move into your new home.  Here are a few moving  tips to help make your move less stressful and go as smoothly as possible:

  1. moving tipsResearch your options for movers and don’t just settle for the first company that appears in the search results.  Ask around and check references.  You want to work with a company that you know will get your items from your old house to your new houses safely and at a reasonable price.
  2. Speaking of price, when you get estimates, be honest and tell them about everything you’re going to want them to move.  Sandbagging items can slow down your move and potentially cost you more.
  3. Book your move early so you can secure the best date and time for your schedule.  If you wait until the last minute to book your movers, odds are you’ll be forced into their schedule and timeframe.
  4. If you’re having your home packed by professionals, be there while they pack.  Being able to oversee their progress will give you peace of mind and the advantage of knowing what’s going in each box.  You can also label and tag the boxes (color-coded stickers for each room) yourself and put your last name on the box along with a description of what’s going inside.
  5. If you’re coming from an apartment, block off parking if possible.  Having parking that is closer to your front door will give the movers an advantage, making it easier for them, and help to move the process along at a quicker pace.
  6. Take inventory of what you have once the packing is complete and before the movers arrive.  This way you’ll know that you have everything and nothing is missing or was left behind.
  7. Have bottled water and a few easy to handle snacks available to offer your movers.  A simple gesture of appreciation will go a long way with their morale — and potentially the pace at which they move your belongs.
  8. As your movers are unloading, move larger items, like furniture and rugs, into position.  This will make it easier for you to unpack once you start the process.
  9. Once the move is complete, take time to inventory everything and make sure nothing was damaged during the move before you sign the statement of delivery from the movers.  And it’s not a bad idea to take a moment to review the fine print, as some companies may not accept reports of broken items after you sign-off.
  10. Pack a suitcase with everything you’ll need for the first 2 to 3 days, including toiletries, towels, medication, and clothes.  This way you’ll be able to unpack at a leisurely pace instead of finding yourself frantically looking for the box containing your toothbrush and PJs.