LaVernne Story's Blog
It’s true. Some friends are closer than relatives. Friends support you while you’re navigating through your life’s toughest challenges. They’re the people you invite to your birthday parties, graduations, baby showers, holiday celebrations and weddings. You’d be hard pressed to think of a lot of times when your best friends weren’t either present or among the first people that you called and told about the experiences. So, it’s not surprising that a friend has asked if they can move in with you. But, how should you respond?
Get real with yourself before you let a friend move into your house
State laws govern how long someone must live with you before they are considered to be a legal resident. One thing that can cause someone to be viewed as a legal resident at your house is whether or not the person receives personal mail at your address. Check with your local government before you tell a friend that it’s okay for her to move in with you.
Ask your friend about his sleeping habits. If your friend works from home, find out what his work hours are? For example, does your friend start working at five o’clock in the morning or does your friend stay in bed until noon?
If your friend played music loudly during your younger years, factor that into your decision. You may have changed and now turn your music down. But, that doesn’t mean that your friend listens to her music at a reasonable volume.
Think back to how your friend behaved around pets. This is a must if you have pets. Your friend moving into your house may not work if your friend is afraid of the type of pet that you have. For example, some people are afraid of dogs. Other people are afraid of cats, perceiving cats to be too mysterious.
Deciding to let a friend move into your house might not be a good idea
Discuss your friend moving into your house with your children. If a lot of time has passed since you last spent an extended period of time with your friend in person, hang out with your friend around children. Observe how your friend responds to children, especially when children are upset or impatient.
It goes without saying that you need to discuss your friend moving into your home with your spouse before you give your friend the green light. Let your spouse express her views about the move free of pressure. Don’t try to sell your spouse on the move. After all, your spouse could raise important issues about your friend moving into your home that you hadn’t thought about.
If a friend moves in with you, it could change your entire relationship with that friend. You’ll learn about each other’s habits, including your cleanliness, sleeping and work habits. You’ll also gain insight into each other’s hidden, personal struggles.In a way, it’s similar to getting married. Think about the pros and cons associated with living with someone before you give your friend a set of keys to your house. It could save your friendship.
The homebuying process can be stressful, particularly for those who are purchasing a house for the first time. From the time it takes to find your "dream" home to the final closing, there may be many hurdles that you'll need to overcome to secure your ideal home. As such, it sometimes can be difficult for a first-time homebuyer to maintain a positive outlook during the most challenging times.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you remain calm, cool and collected throughout the entire homebuying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers maintain a positive outlook at each stage of the homebuying journey:
1. Establish Realistic Expectations
Although first-time homebuyers would like to believe the property buying journey will be quick and seamless, it is important to realize that problems can arise without notice. However, homebuyers who understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house should have no trouble identifying potential issues and minimizing their impact.
For example, a homebuyer who defines his or her ideal residence can narrow a home search accordingly. This homebuyer also will be able to check out a variety of houses based on assorted property buying criteria and boost his or her chances of discovering the perfect residence without delay.
A homebuyer who establishes realistic expectations will be ready for the worst-case scenarios too. And if this homebuyer submits an offer to purchase a home that ultimately gets rejected, he or she will remain confident and be ready to restart the homebuying cycle from stage one.
2. Become an Informed Homebuyer
A first-time homebuyer who learns about the housing market can improve his or her chances of getting the best possible results.
Allocating the necessary time and resources to understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market, for instance, can make a world of difference for any homebuyer, at any time.
Furthermore, an informed homebuyer may be more likely than others to get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this property buyer can set a budget for his or her home search and increase the likelihood of securing a terrific house at an affordable price.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a home for the first time, why should a homebuyer leave anything to chance? Instead, a homebuyer can work with a real estate agent to reduce the risk of potential pitfalls throughout the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent is happy to respond to a homebuyer's concerns and questions as the property buying journey progresses. This housing market professional will even help a homebuyer maintain a positive outlook, regardless of what happens. That way, a real estate agent can assist a homebuyer through both good times and bad and ensure a property buyer can purchase a first-rate house that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
Take advantage of these tips, and any first-time homebuyer can keep things positive at each stage of the homebuying cycle.
Once you have signed the purchase and sales agreement, the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser. The home appraisal is an estimate of what the property is valued at. The appraisal takes into account a number of factors such as the location of the home, the condition of the house, and recent sales of like homes in the area. The value that is determined by the appraiser is the maximum amount that can be loaned out by a mortgage company.
If you’re buying a $300,000 home, but the appraisal comes back at $297,000, you’ll need to pay the remaining $3,000 out of pocket in addition to the down payment and the closing costs that are paid up front at the time of purchase.
If the appraisal comes in too low, you might not have the necessary funds in your bank account to actually make the purchase of the home. Since you have already signed the purchase and sales agreement, you have signed a legally binding contract that states that you will in fact buy the home from the seller. If you break the agreement, you’ll lose your deposit, which could be a significant sum of money.
The Appraisal Contingency
Most purchase agreements contain something called an appraisal contingency. This is an out for the buyer in the case of a low appraisal. If the appraisal is less than the agreed upon price, there’s a way for you as a buyer to get out of the contract without it taking a hit on your finances. You need this contingency to protect you.
Is Waiving The Appraisal Contingency Is A Good Idea?
You could be in a situation where you might consider waiving the appraisal contingency. This would be a case where you agree to pay the entire amount of the contact price, even in the event of a low appraisal. This gives the seller a clear message that you want the home no matter what. The only way that you should even really consider doing this is if there is a lot of competition for the home that you want to purchase. If an appraisal comes back much lower than expected, you’ll be expected to make up the difference in price. In most cases, it’s a good idea to keep the appraisal contingency in the agreement to protect yourself as a buyer.
How To Know For Sure
This is why it’s so important to hire a real estate agent. In many states, agents are able to give you advice on the best course of action for buying a home. You can also hire your own attorney to help you through the legal portions of the home buying process. In other states, attorneys are required for the sale of a home. These lawyers will be able to advise you as a buyer what’s in your best interest. Your attorney is there to protect you!
- Exercise: We all need regular physical activity to look and feel our best, but it's all too easy to come up with excuses for skipping a day or two. As most of us can attest to, a few days of exercise avoidance can easily turn into weeks or more of inactivity. However, since dogs require daily walks to relieve themselves and expend pent up energy, you're less likely to have a sedentary lifestyle when there's a dog in the family. Motivating us to take them for a walk and play with them, every day, is one of the countless ways dogs enhance our lives. They may even help us live longer and be healthier.
- Home security: Whether a dog is an intimidating German Shepherd or a fluffy, white Bichon Frise, they're still going to bark when they sense a stranger on your property. While small dogs aren't going to inspire terror in the hearts of would-be burglars, their barking has a similar effect to that of a security alarm or a motion-sensor floodlight. It's going to call attention to the potential intruder. Since one of a burglar's main objectives is to not be noticed, a barking dog -- of any size -- can be an effective deterrent.
- Benefits to kids: If you had a dog when you were growing up, you know what a source of joy and companionship they can be to a child. Dogs not only create fond memories for children, but they can also help teach responsibility, empathy, and compassion for other living beings.
Even the best real estate agents can't share important facts about your house the way that you can. You know what it's like to actually live in your house. Only you know if the refrigerator runs after the door has been open for at least a minute. You know if the house makes settling noises late at night. Soft spots in the floor, and how well the house heats during winter and cools during summer are more facts that you're privy to.
Sharing your house's inside history, builds buyer trust. But, be careful. As you share facts and history about your house, you might fall in love with your house all over again and start second guessing whether you should let your house go.
Home buyers want to do more than walk thru your house
When house shoppers start asking you about closing costs, if you have pets and when you'd like to move into your new home, it's time to start sharing important information with them. Doing so could speed up a house sale. Information to share includes:
The personality of the neighbors. Similar to how authors describe the personalities of characters in their bestselling novels, introduce potential buyers to the neighbors. Skim the surface, letting prospects know if neighbors are quiet, social or tougher to get to know. This is where having great neighbors pays off hugely.
Just as you'd let house shoppers know if you have pets, let potential buyers know if most of the neighbors have pets. If pets are well trained, not aggressive and stay in their yards, share this. It could put people who are uncomfortable around large pets at ease, especially if these potential buyers heard dogs barking as they drove up the street to your open house.
Don't keep house shoppers in the dark
Don't stop there. Tell house shoppers where malls and hit stores are, including how far these hot spots are from your house. If you live near hot spots, this alone could attract buyers who love being at the center of exciting events.
Although prospects will see key features about your house as they walk through it, they won't catch everything. Tell people who are interested in buying your house about the extra storage space that buyers can't see right away and often miss.
Have a finished basement or a finished attic? Let buyers know. It could make the difference between losing a house sale or closing a deal. Buyers may be looking for extra space that can be used as a guest room, extra bedroom or home office.
Show off gorgeous outdoor views. Share stories about renovations you performed on your house since you purchased it. Share stories about experiences you created at the house that caused you to love the house. For example, you could tell buyers that your first child was born in the house or that you started you operated your first business out of the house.
Let house shoppers know where nearby airports and other forms of public transportation like trains, subways and buses are. Buyers may not be a two-car family. Knowing that you live near reliable public transportation could seal the deal.
Talk with your real estate agent about inside history that you're considering sharing with potential home buyers. Do this before you speak with people who are interested in buying your house. Your realtor may have ideas on how you can present the history, offering house shoppers honesty and engagement.