Buying a Home

4 Questions Agents Ask Other Agents When House-Hunting for Themselves

Real estate agents are perceptive. They’re trained to ask an array of thoughtful questions that most homebuyers may not think about when purchasing property — questions requiring insightful answers that can curtail costly mistakes. So what are the top items on a real estate agent’s list when she’s shopping for her own home? And what makes these questions important, especially in a seller’s market?

I got the inside scoop on what homebuyers should be asking to help them avoid surprises, ensure their comfort and happiness in their new home, and help protect their investment in the years to come.

“Why is the owner selling?”

Buyers should be acutely aware of the potential risks associated with their purchase, says Rachel King, a licensed associate real estate broker at Serhant on Long Island. For example, are the owners selling because they’re...

7 Things You Don’t Actually Need to Worry About During Your House Hunt

Buying a home is stressful even in the best buyer’s market conditions. But when homes are flying off the shelf at a record pace, with bidding wars and crowded open houses to boot, it becomes downright overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few elements of homebuying stress you can cross off your list. Here are a few *low-priority* things you don’t actually need to worry about, from landscaping to pricing.

Specifics aside, above all else, try to surround yourself with seriously thoughtful and experienced experts who have your best interests in mind. You can’t be aware of everything at all times, so the second-best option is aligning with a strong team, first and foremost consisting of a knowledgeable Realtor, lender, and home inspector. Your Realtor will then rely on a strong attorney, title company, lender and appraiser.  

Trying to...

18 Things Homebuyers Should Consider Before Making an Offer

Buying a home is a big-time undertaking, and knowing what to look for before making an offer can be a little unnerving for anyone on the hunt, especially first-time homebuyers.Whether you’re considering living in an urban, suburban or rural area, make sure, first and foremost, that it’s safe and clean and that you’re OK with the noise and traffic levels. Location is just one factor. To help with the rest, we made a list of 18 more things homebuyers should check off before putting an offer on a property. 

  1. Neighborhood: Are neighboring homes and yards well-kept, or do they seem run-down and neglected? Are the streets and sidewalks in good condition, or are they littered with trash and debris? A well-maintained neighborhood can indicate that people take pride in their community and are willing to work together to keep it looking nice.

  2. ...

Do Starter Homes Still Exist?

Historically, people buying their first home have gravitated toward houses that are smaller and more affordable. 

For starters, the more modest square footage of these so-called “starter homes” makes them easier to maintain for first-time homeowners, who may be accustomed to a landlord taking care of everything from clogged drains to yard work. Perhaps more importantly, these cheaper houses actually fit into new homebuyers’ budgets — often, they’re all that a single professional or young couple can realistically afford.

The thinking used to be that eventually these young, upstart homeowners would outgrow their starter home and, as they advanced in their careers, could afford to move into a larger space. But in today’s ridiculously hot housing market — where buyers are lining up around the block for showings and homes are selling for tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price —...

Five Tell-Tale Signs You’re Ready to Buy a House — Beyond Having a Down Payment

When it comes to buying a home, there are the obvious signs you’re ready. The main one? You’ve got enough money saved for a down payment (which doesn’t have to be 20 percent, by the way!), with some cash left over in savings for a cushion. But you also have to be emotionally prepared for ride that could include bidding wars, inspection concerns, and other twists like appraisal gaps.  (All things we are happy to explain to you!) 

But what are some lesser-known — yet still important — signs you’re ready to become a homeowner? Here’s what the real estate experts have to say:

You’ll stay put for a while.

Amid the pandemic, an estimated 50% of all Americans were considering a move. Remote work and new flexible leasing models made frequent moves and test-driving different cities easier than ever before.

If you’re looking to become a homeowner, you don’t necessarily have to buy your...

31 Ways to Save for Your Down Payment

There’s a meme going around that says something like, “I unsubscribed from Netflix and have been packing my own lunch; should be able to afford a house any day now!” This is exactly the type of zinger that resonates with today’s generation of homebuyers. Home prices are at record highs, and factors like student loan debt, salaries not keeping pace with inflation, and high rent prices all make saving for a down payment really difficult.

To put it another way? It’s passé (and laughable, really) to tell anyone that skipping an iced coffee run here and there will magically translate to a down payment fund in this unprecedented market. But if you are looking to put some money aside for a down payment, here...

4 Things First Time Home Buyers Are Never Prepared For

Buying a home for the first time is an exciting part of life. After renting or living with family, it’s finally time to have your own place. What once seemed like a dream can quickly become a reality once you find the perfect place — after your offer gets accepted and you eventually close. Having keys in hand and walking through your home for the first time is so gratifying.

However, a few things can quickly bring your head out of the clouds if you aren’t in the know. Of course, owning a home is well worth the investment in yourself and your future, but that doesn’t mean it can’t come with some unexpected costs and roadblocks. But don't worry, we're here to help you navigate the road ahead! Here are four...

Buying a Home with a Rental Unit

Buying a home can be full of difficult decisions; and as interest rates rise, some buyers may experience more difficulty planning financially for the property they envision buying.  For people looking for a different way to help pay their mortgage every month, choosing a multi-family property or a home with an attached rental unit might help offset costs and provide the monthly income that makes their mortgage payment a little easier to accomplish.

What Is an Attached Rental Unit?

An attached rental unit, formally called an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), is typically a smaller living space adjacent to a main home. It might be a tiny house in the backyard, or something more like a self-contained mother-in-law apartment attached to the house. It can even be a small apartment over the garage. In many cases, it is even a 2-Family Home where the owner lives in one unit and rents the other.  There aren’t a lot of rules about what an ADU has to be, except that...

Can't Afford the Home You Could a Year Ago? Here's What to Do

Credit scores saw a jump during the first year of the pandemic. Now, amid high inflation and rising consumer debt, they’re holding steady - and thats not necessarily a good thing.

The national average FICO credit score sits at 716, which is still an all-time high but is unchanged from a year ago, according to a new report from FICO, the analytics company that developed one of the go-to credit scores for lenders.

This leveling-off of the score is significant, as 2022 marks the first time in over a decade that the average FICO score has not increased year over year.

FICO scores range from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent). Credit scores are used by lenders to determine how risky (or not) you’ll be as a borrower; they impact the terms of credit cards, personal loans and mortgages.

It seems...

How First-Time Homebuyers Can Negotiate Serious Savings

First-time homebuyers are taking their power back.

As the housing market continues to cool, savvy buyers are seizing the opportunity to save themselves some hard-earned cash. They’re bringing contingencies back, asking sellers to make costly repairs, and even submitting offers for less than the asking price of a home. Sellers, eager to go under contract, are not only giving these offers serous consideration, they’re also increasingly coming to the bargaining table.

Make no mistake: It’s still a seller’s market. Home prices are ratcheting up as there are far more buyers searching for homes than there are properties to go around.

However, higher mortgage rates combined with record-high home prices have doused the frenzy in the housing market. As many first-time and other buyers have been pushed...