Darryln Leikauskas - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 2/16/2018

Whether youíre a first-time homebuyer or youíre upgrading to a larger house to fit your familyís needs, itís vital to understand just how much house you can afford before you start shopping for homes.

When planning for your future home, there are two main things you need to figure out.

  • What is a smart amount to spend on a home for your budget

  • What are the key features in a home that will give you the most benefits for the cost

These two questions may seem simple, but there are quite a few factors that should go into determining each one.

So, in todayís post, Iím going to walk you through the process of determining what kind of house you can afford so you can make the best home buying decision for you and your family.

A smart home buying budget

To create an effective budget, youíll need to gather some information and possibly create a spreadsheet with Excel (or a free alternative like Google Sheets).

On your spreadsheet, youíll first want to add up all sources of income that your family has. This is the easy part for most people who only have one or two sources of income based on a salaried job.

Next, is the hard part--expenses. We canít just use your current expenses to determine the new budget because we have to account for changes in several areas.

If you arenít sure of the cost of living for the area you hope to move to, try plugging it into this cost of living comparison tool to see get a better idea of the cost of things like transportation, childcare, groceries, and more.

Likewise, itís also a good idea to assume youíll be paying more in utilities if youíre hoping to move into a home that is larger than your current home. Keep in mind, however, that different houses have different levels of energy-efficiency, so itís a good idea to also ask the seller of the homes youíre interested in to determine what your costs might be.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. The amount remaining should easily cover whatever mortgage payment you receive along with, ideally, 20% of your income going toward savings.

Deciding what you need in a home

The second part of determining how much house you can afford is to find out exactly what youíre looking for in a home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, the size of the backyard; all of these are questions that have a monetary value.

So, to really answer this question youíll need a strong understanding of what you and your familyís goals are for at least the next 5-7 years, if not longer.

Once you have your long-term goals and a good understanding of your budget, you can start safely shopping for homes with a clearer idea of the type of home youíre looking for and just how much home you can afford.

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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 2/9/2018

After you accept an offer on a home, you likely will only have a few weeks to pack up your belongings and vacate the premises. As such, there are many questions that home sellers need to consider at this point, including:

1. Where am I going to live?

If you haven't figured out where you're going to live after your home closing, there is no need to panic. Consider all of your potential living options now, and you can plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, friends and family members may be willing to provide you with a temporary place to live. These loved ones may enable you to stay in their houses until you buy a new residence. Or, in some instances, you may be able to permanently move in with friends and family members.

On the other hand, if you enjoy being a homeowner, you may want to kick off a home search right away. This will enable you to find a new place to live in the city or town of your choice. Also, if you work quickly, you may be able to finalize your home purchase around the same time that you sell your current house.

2. What is the homebuyer's next step?

In most cases, a homebuyer will have a set amount of time to schedule a home inspection after you accept his or her offer. Once the home inspection is complete, the buyer will receive a report that provides insights into the condition of your house.

For home sellers, a home inspection can be stressful. If a property inspector discovers problems with a residence, a buyer may choose to walk away from a home purchase or ask a seller to complete various home renovations.

When it comes to selling a house, it pays to be honest. If you provide honest responses to a homebuyer's questions about your residence, you can help the buyer make an informed purchase decision. Plus, with this approach, you can minimize the risk that a home inspection may lead a buyer to rescind his or her offer.

3. What will I need to do to finalize the home sale?

The time between accepting a home offer and reaching the closing date may seem endless. However, a patient home seller will be able to stay calm, cool and collected, even if challenges arise along the way.

As a home seller, you should try to do everything you can to reach the finish line of a property sale. If you maintain consistent communication with a real estate agent, you can seamlessly navigate all stages of the home selling cycle.

A real estate agent works on a home seller's behalf and will do everything possible to minimize potential pitfalls. Thus, this housing market professional is happy to respond to a home seller's questions to ensure this individual is fully supported in the weeks and days leading up to a home closing.

Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive plenty of support throughout the home selling journey.

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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 2/2/2018

Because real estate is a people-oriented business, most agents are happy to answer questions and provide advice after the sale. Whether you've enlisted their help to purchase a house or sell one, your working relationship does not have to end the moment you sign the final papers.

Professionals in the real estate business are generally service-oriented and interested in cultivating ongoing client relationships. If you've been fortunate enough to find a real estate agent who exceeded your expectations, then they'll most likely be a resource you'll want to use down the road. Assuming you had good rapport and that you're satisfied with their service, here are a few solid reasons to keep in touch.

Reliable source of advice: When you consider the training, knowledge, and experience that a seasoned real estate agent has, having them as a professional contact can benefit you in a number of ways. As an example, many agents are familiar with the impact home improvements can have on resale value. In other words, if you're thinking about upgrading, expanding, or altering your property, a knowledgeable real estate agent can provide insights into how that might affect your home's current and future market value. Since every type of home improvement brings with it a potential return on investment (ROI), it's an important aspect to consider when remodeling, adding an addition, or making a major change to your property. Many real estate agents have cultivated relationships with dependable contractors, remodelers, and installers to whom they may be happy to refer you, too. As a homeowner, you will invariably need reliable recommendations, sooner or later, and real estate agents are often a great source of contractor referrals. As you may have already discovered, it can be a frustrating experience to try to find a good home improvement contractor or other service provider when you're starting from scratch or relying on the credibility of online reviews.

Help for friends and family: If you're not planning on buying or selling a home in the near future, there's a good chance someone you know would benefit from the help and advice of a proven real estate professional. Even if a family member or acquaintance just needs assistance in finding an affordable apartment or house to rent, real estate agents often have the connections and resources to provide options that others may have overlooked.

Income and Investment properties: After shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to landlords, over the years, some homeowners consider "turning the tables" and becoming landlords and real estate investors, themselves. While this is certainly not a guaranteed path to financial independence, some people do become quite successful at it. If you have a tolerance for risk and the tenacity to pursue it, then your real estate agent may be able to help you find some worthwhile income properties. It's not for everybody, though!

Finding a real estate agent who's results oriented, experienced, and a pleasure to work with is not an everyday event, but when it does happen, they're worth keeping as a trusted advisor for many years to come!

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 1/26/2018

It must have been frightening, in the days before the internet, to move to a new place that you knew little about. The culture, the people, the things to do--all of these things are now at our fingertips thanks to Google and others.

However, it can still be difficult to get used to a new town, especially if youíre moving far away from your previous home. So, in this article, Iím going to give you some tips on how to investigate your new town. That way, youíll have a good idea of what kind of things you can do for fun, where to eat, and countless other things you might want to know about the place youíll soon call home.

The lay of the land

A good place to start your search is on Google Maps. From here you can explore your future neighborhood; find out how close you are to grocery stores, parks, hospitals, and even get an estimate on how long your work commute will take each day.

Since many of these places will have ratings and reviews, you can also take some time to read the reviews for popular places around town.

Eating around town

It can seem like youíre always flipping a coin when you eat at a new restaurant. When you move to a new town, youíll have to discover new favorite places to eat. However, you donít have to do these experiments on your own.

Check out Yelp reviews for local restaurants and cafes to get a sense of the pricing and atmosphere. This way youíll give yourself the best possible chance of enjoying the experience.

Meeting new people

Making friends is hard enough as an adult. In todayís world, many people meet their friends online or through other connections, rather than simply hanging around with their neighbors.

Luckily, sites like Facebook and Meetup make it easier to introduce yourself to like-minded people.

Browse local meetups that youíre interested in, and donít be afraid to try out a new activity or attend a paint night--you might meet new people and discover a new hobby all at once.

Most towns have a strong presence on Facebook in terms of things like groups and events. Joining local groups will give you an idea of the type of things people do for fun around town and give you a way to introduce yourself to new people.

Read the news

Many towns are covered by a local or regional newspaper. They can often be found online or at a local library or cafe. These newspapers are often the key to discovering the good and the bad about your new home, tipping you off to the things youíll want to pay attention to when you move.

Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 1/19/2018

If you want to sell your house and achieve the optimal results, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for the home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for selling your residence.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Fortunately, you can perform a home inspection and appraisal to ensure that you can price your house appropriately.

During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your house both inside and out. This property expert will identify any underlying problems with your house, allowing you to address such issues before you list your residence.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal ensures that you can receive a property valuation based on the age and condition of your residence, as well as pertinent housing market data. This appraisal enables you to better understand how to price your house, enabling you to establish a competitive initial asking price.

2. Enhance Your House's Interior and Exterior

A dazzling home interior and exterior can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. If you dedicate time and resources to perform home upgrades, you may be able to boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

To enhance your house's interior, you may want to remove as much clutter as possible from your home. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they buy your house.

Furthermore, you should trim the front lawn, clear outdoor walkways and do everything you can to improve your house's exterior. Because with a stunning home exterior, your home's curb appeal will increase, making it more likely than ever before that potential buyers will fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to plan ahead for the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent, and this housing market professional is happy to help you get ready to sell your house.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who will learn about you and your home selling goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you develop an effective plan to sell your house and maximize its value.

In addition, a real estate agent will serve as an expert guide throughout the home selling journey. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing, promote your house to the right groups of buyers and review any offers on your residence.

When it comes to selling a house, it may be a good ideal to plan ahead. If you use the aforementioned tips, you can create a home selling strategy that ensures you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.

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