Kristen Meleedy, CBR's Blog
Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.
With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.
In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.
A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.
To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.
1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.
Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.
Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.
2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.
Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.
Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.
3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.
A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.
On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.
If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.
Buying a new home is a joyous occasion, one that should be celebrated by family members and friends. However, telling people about a new home purchase sometimes can be tough, particularly for those who may be leaving roommates or others behind.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you alleviate the stress and worry commonly associated with telling family members or friends about a new home purchase.
Here are three tips to ensure you can remain calm, cool and confident as you inform your loved ones about your decision to buy a new home.
1. Prepare As Much As You Can
Purchasing a house is a life-changing decision, and as such, your loved ones may have concerns. Therefore, you should plan ahead for any questions that you could face about your new house.
Why did you decide to buy a home in a particular city or town? How much did you pay for a house? And what does your home purchase mean for your loved ones? These are just some of the questions that you should prepare to face when you share the news about your new home purchase with loved ones.
Also, it is important to realize that you and your loved ones won't always see eye to eye. And if a family member or friend disagrees with your home purchase, accept his or her opinion and move forward.
2. Take a Proactive Approach
When it comes to informing others about your home purchase, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Thus, taking a proactive approach will ensure you can directly inform the most important people in your life about your home purchase.
Communication is key between family members and friends. With a proactive approach, you can inform your loved ones about your homebuying decision and minimize the risk that they will hear the news from a third-party.
Don't leave anything to chance as you determine who to tell about your home purchase. If you believe there is a risk that a loved one will be left in the dark about your new home, be sure to reach out to this individual directly.
3. Understand the Emotions Involved with a New Home Purchase
A new home purchase represents a new opportunity for you and your family. If some family members and friends feel left out of your upcoming move, many emotions may bubble to the surface.
Keep the lines of communication open with family members and friends – you'll be glad you did. That way, loved ones can share their thoughts and feelings about your new home purchase and understand you will allocate the time needed to hear them out.
If you need extra help as you get ready to tell loved ones about a new home purchase, don't be afraid to ask your real estate agent for assistance, either. This real estate professional understands the intricacies of purchasing a home and can provide expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey.
Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.
Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.
However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.
Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment
Estimated time: 2+ years
The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.
Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.
Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life
Estimated time 6+ months
One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.
Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved
Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)
Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.
Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.
Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.
Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.
Step 4: House Hunting
Estimated time: 30+ days
It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.
Step 5: Making an offer and closing
Estimated time: ~50 days
Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.
After you buy a house, it may be only a few weeks before your closing date arrives. At this point, you and the home seller will finalize your transaction. And if everything goes according to plan, you'll own a new home.
Getting to closing day, however, sometimes can be difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help ensure you can enjoy a quick, seamless home closing.
Now, let's take a look at three steps to close on a home.
1. Complete Your Mortgage Application
A mortgage is a must-have for a homebuyer to close on a residence. Fortunately, it often can be simple to obtain a mortgage that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Consult with several local banks and credit unions. By doing so, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
After you complete a mortgage application, a bank or credit union can provide you with mortgage options. Then, you can make an informed decision about which mortgage suits you perfectly.
2. Perform a Home Inspection and Appraisal
A home inspection is paramount, as this assessment will enable you to identify any underlying home problems and address them before closing day arrives.
During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your residence both inside and out. This expert also will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.
Review the results of a home inspection report closely – you'll be glad you did. If you assess a home inspection report, you can review a home inspector's findings and determine whether you still want to purchase a house.
If you accept the inspection results and decide to move forward with a home purchase, an appraisal may follow.
Like a home inspection, an appraisal requires a property expert to visit your home. This expert will evaluate your home's interior and exterior, as well as comparable houses in your city or town. Following a home appraisal, you will receive a property valuation.
Oftentimes, a property valuation may match or exceed the price that you intend to pay for a house. If it does not, there may be instances in which you can still walk away from a home sale or ask the seller to lower a house's asking price.
3. Buy Home Insurance
Home insurance safeguards your residence and personal belongings against loss, damage or destruction. As such, it is essential to purchase home insurance before you close on a house. Because with home insurance in place, you'll be good to go to protect your house and personal belongings against myriad disasters.
The closing process can be long and complicated. But if you work with a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support leading up to closing day. In fact, this housing market professional is happy to provide tips to ensure you can streamline the closing process.
Get ready for closing day – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can speed up the process of acquiring your dream house.
Have you ever made a move across the country? While this is a huge step, it can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re moving for a job or you just want a fresh start, the whole process can be stressful and very expensive. However, there are some tips to consider that can help to ease the stress and simplify the process.
Timing is Key
While you may think that you can move at any time, you should be strategic on when you move—if you want to save the most money. Holidays, weekends and at the end of the month are the busiest — and most expensive — times to move, so choose wisely in this regard. To score the best savings, try to move during the week and before the month of May or after the month of September. These are the times when moving is extremely common, so the moving industry will ramp up costs during these times. You want to also ensure that you are 100% ready by the time of your move. Try to think about everything that needs to be done, then set a time for your departure.
Lighten Your Load
When preparing for your cross-country move, it’s also very beneficial to get rid of junk that you don’t need. Consider your necessities and throw away things that you never use. This step can be the deciding factor between renting a truck or taking your own car across the country. Renting a vehicle for a long-distance move can cost over $1,000, so it’s important to cut costs if possible. Be sure to go through boxes, throw away junk, and compact your belongings as much as possible.
Pack Your Own Food
Driving across the states for your move can take days. And if you’re driving a moving truck with all of your belongings, then this journey can take even longer. That being said, you’ll need to make eating and sleeping arrangements. Unfortunately, these expenses can really add up quickly, especially since you’ll need money for multiple meals and multiple nights on the road. Therefore, to save a little cash, be sure to pack food for the drive. Not only can this help you save as you’re adventuring from state to state, but it can also help you save on time. Rather than stopping every few hours to get a quick bite, you can conveniently eat while you drive or pull off the road for a few minutes.
Moving across the country can take a toll emotionally, mentally and physically. And if you’re doing it alone, this journey can be even more stressful. But by focusing on the three tips mentioned above, you can rest easy knowing that you’re well-prepared for this life-changing adventure.