There are signs that the housing market is easing off the record-high prices it’s seen during the past few years, but bidding wars for homes are far from over—especially in competitive markets. And the difference between landing your dream home and going back to square one can come down to something as silly as minor misunderstandings or misinterpretations of real estate lingo.
Take, for example, the subtle difference between the terms “highest and best” and “best and final,” which are used to describe the types of offers a buyer makes on a house. Many home sellers are asking buyers to submit one of the two types of offers in anticipation of—or amid—a bidding war.
Are you sure you know the difference between these two types of offers? Read on for the definition—and for savvy tactics from real estate experts—so you can put your best foot forward and land the home you have your heart set on.
Ahome’s risk of flooding—from hurricanes or a huge downpour—is probably not the first thing you’d think to check. However, the fact is that many U.S. homes lie within flood zones, and as the recent Yellowstone flooding illustrates all too clearly, many homeowners aren’t properly aware of the risks, or prepared to take them on.
Ideally, you want to size up this potential and take precautions if necessary well before you might end up underwater!
Most homes in high-risk flood zones are near a body of water. For instance, the Gulf Coast is one of the U.S. regions most vulnerable to hurricanes that cause flooding. Yet more than 20% of flood-related home insurance claims happen in non-flood zones, so no one should assume they’re safe.
Read more HERE.
Taking on a new job can be exciting. But if getting a new gig happens to coincide with your plans to buy a home, it can affect your ability to get a mortgage—even if you make more money in your new job.
When you apply for a home loan, lenders take a deep dive into your financial history, including your current employment, to see if you can handle monthly mortgage payments.
Changing jobs while applying for a mortgage is not a deal breaker, but it can introduce a level of uncertainty that could make lenders tread more cautiously.
HERE are some factors to think about when considering taking on new employment while shopping for a home.
After the mad dash by homebuyers to purchase larger places to live in at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some experts are making a case for more efficiently designed, smaller homes.
With the pandemic seemingly waning, mortgage rates and home prices rising, and builders struggling to get anything up in the face of supply chain shortages, there’s a convincing argument to be made that home shoppers should consider seeking smaller houses.
A new book by Sheri Koones, “Bigger Than Tiny, Smaller Than Average,” posits that functionality is more important than square footage.
Read more HERE.
When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to get distracted by the shiny fixtures and fancy appliances. But there’s something far more important and not always easy to pinpoint that you should be looking out for: signs of good home design.
So how can you tell if a house is well-designed? A well-designed home makes you feel good when you walk in. It’s well-lit, with lots of natural light and glimpses of nature viewed through ample windows and doors. Where a poorly designed home might feel cramped and cluttered—despite the best efforts of the homeowner—a well-designed home has a place for everything.
Rooms flow naturally into one another, in a way that makes sense for the way the homeowners live.
Experts call this good “flow,” and they know it when they see it. But to the average homebuyer, it can be a tough thing to spot at first glance. And poor flow is an expensive—sometimes near-impossible—thing to fix.
Look for the following giveaways next time you’re touring homes.
The homebuying process is also complicated, so depending on whatever real estate curveballs come hurtling your way, your agent will likely become your shoulder to cry on, shrink, perhaps even your 24/7 hotline when you discover an email at 3 a.m. that your mortgage approval fell through.
In fact, a new survey from Century 21 finds that a majority of homebuyers and sellers say they value and confide in their agents more than they do a therapist, and even feel they know them better than their own neighbors.
Surprised? Find out more HERE.
Is your Realtor asking for proof of funds? What is proof of funds in real estate anyway? When you’re buying a house, a proof of funds letter is a document that proves that a home buyer has enough liquid cash to purchase a home. It’s essential paperwork that all home sellers will want to see, so home buyers shouldn’t feel prepared to make an offer without one.
Basically all buyers need to provide a proof of funds letter. Even if you’re getting a mortgage to finance your home purchase, you’ll still need enough money for a down payment (ideally 20% of the price of the house) and closing costs (an additional 3% to 4% of the home’s price).
Read more HERE.
Tired of having your already cramped bedroom do double duty as a home office and at-home gym? It might be time to upsize. But while getting more space may seem enticing, upsizing can hold pitfalls for unwary home buyers.
Before taking the plunge, here are some mistakes to avoid when upsizing to a larger home.
What happens when the seller leaves behind more than a few cardboard boxes and cleaning supplies? Having to deal with a refrigerator full of rotting food, a piano, or pricey sports equipment is not easy—especially when you’re in the process of moving your own stuff in.
You might be staring at piles of junk and wondering how the heck you’re supposed to contend with it all. Who owns all that stuff? Are you allowed to just get rid of it? And, what could you have done to avoid getting this mess in the first place?
Find out HERE.
Most homebuyers know that no matter how much they love a house, they should get it inspected before closing the deal.
Homebuyers often add an inspection contingency to their offers, which lets you back out of the deal if a significant problem is revealed.
Given how an inspection can protect buyers from a lemon, it’s no surprise that most homebuyers get one done. However, do you know what type of home inspection you need?
Find out HERE.