Diane Stone - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth



Posted by Diane Stone on 2/4/2018

Let's face it – buying a home can be difficult, particularly for those who are exploring the real estate market for the first time.

As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to learn about the ins and outs of the housing market. By doing so, you can understand what differentiates a high-quality house from a subpar residence and proceed accordingly.

Furthermore, an informed homebuyer will know how to evaluate a home's exterior properly.

What does it take to conduct an in-depth assessment of a house's exterior? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should consider as he or she examines a home's exterior.

1. How do I feel about a home's exterior?

For many homebuyers, finding a house with an awe-inspiring exterior is a top priority. However, it is important to consider how you feel when you see a home's exterior for the first time.

A home's exterior should impress. At the same time, you need to evaluate a house's exterior in conjunction with other home features.

For example, a home may boast a massive kitchen and other dazzling interior features. On the other hand, a home's exterior may leave much to be desired.

Consider the pros and cons of a home's interior and exterior as you determine whether to submit an offer on a house. And if you need extra help along the way, be sure to consult with a real estate agent.

2. Will home exterior repairs be needed in the near future?

Examine a house's driveway, walkways and lawn as you conduct a home exterior evaluation. This will allow you to review the condition of these home exterior areas and determine whether repairs may be needed sooner rather than later.

Home exterior renovations sometimes can be costly and time-intensive. Thus, if you notice home siding that is cracked or other exterior issues, you will want to consider the time and expenses that may be required to fix such problems.

3. How much time will I need to commit to home exterior maintenance projects?

A home may have a beautiful exterior. In order to keep a house's exterior looking great, you'll need to conduct regular maintenance.

Consider what you will need to do to maintain a house's dazzling exterior as you explore all of the options at your disposal.

Will you need to hire a landscaping company to mow the lawn and trim the hedges? Or, are you willing to commit the time and resources necessary to perform assorted home exterior maintenance tasks on your own? These are just a few of the home exterior maintenance questions to consider as you review a property.

Of course, if you need guidance during the homebuying process, real estate agents are available to provide expert assistance.

A real estate agent possesses comprehensive housing market knowledge and can offer real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a house – both inside and out – and making an informed homebuying decision.




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Posted by Diane Stone on 1/14/2018

When you move into a home that you worked so hard to buy, it’s an exciting and overwhelming time. The biggest problem with a new place is that you don’t know your surroundings very well. Even if you have just moved down the street, there’s a lot of new things to be discovered from new neighbors to new places to explore. 


One thing that many new homeowners overlook is the way in which their new home functions. Do you know where the circuit breakers are? What about that switch in the corner of the living room that doesn’t seem to do anything? While the seller's disclosure and your home inspector will give you a wealth of information, you can gain a lot of knowledge just by asking questions. 


Sellers may not be eager to answer too many questions at first for fear that their answers could jeopardize the sale of their home. You can safely ask a lot of questions at the final walk-through or at closing since the seller will know that they’re secure in the transaction.         



What’s Strange About This House?


While you wouldn’t word a question to a seller in this exact way, you do want to know if there’s anything unique or anything that you should anticipate about the home. Remember that you should be subtle, yet curious in your question asking. 


What Type Of Repairs Have Been Made?


While you expect that most repairs will be on the disclosure statement, anything that has been done in the past is noteworthy as well. It’s helpful to know what’s been done in the house in the past so you have an idea of what to keep an eye out for.


Where Are The Important Utility Boxes In The Home?


Not all home inspectors are created equal. Your inspector may not be great at educating you as to where things are in the home like the circuit box, the water switches, the pump, or the controls for the furnace. The seller can often show you the location of these items in the house. This will prevent you from a lot of confusion starting at the time you move into the home. 


Have You Enjoyed Living In This Neighborhood?


You can discover a lot about a neighborhood if you just start a conversation about the seller’s own experiences. You can learn a lot through this simple question. Are there any crazy dogs in the neighborhood? Where are the best places to eat in the area? While you may not ask these questions directly, you can gain some powerful information just by being curious and conversational.

Gaining a good rapport with your seller can get you places. You’ll know a bit more about the home and the seller will even feel more friendly towards you. The seller could even leave some cool stuff behind that they don’t need like a microwave, a piece of furniture, or a patio set. All you need to do is be friendly and curious and you’ll be off to a great start in your new home.




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Posted by Diane Stone on 12/31/2017

Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.

1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal

Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.

A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.

On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.

Assess your mortgage options closely – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.

2. Evaluate Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.

You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.

Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.

3. Consult with Potential Lenders

Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.

Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.

Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
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Posted by Diane Stone on 10/2/2017

Ready to buy a home? Ultimately, you'll want to prepare for the homebuying process. By doing so, you can avoid many costly mistakes.

Believe it or not, it is easy to make mistakes as you browse the housing market. Some of the expensive mistakes that homebuyers frequently make include:

1. Overspending on a Residence

No one should be forced to overspend on a home. Unfortunately, if you fail to study the real estate market, you risk paying too much to acquire your dream house.

Remember, an informed homebuyer will be better equipped to optimize the value of his or her real estate investment than others. And if you understand the costs of properties in your area, you can avoid the temptation to overspend.

Explore the real estate market closely and assess the prices of similar houses. By doing so, you can understand the price range of homes that fall within your budget and plan accordingly.

Also, work with an experienced real estate agent. This real estate professional will help you determine how much you can spend on a home and can provide you with details about properties that match your budget.

2. Failure to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

After you find your dream home, you'll need to figure out how to pay for it. And if you struggle to obtain a mortgage before you start your home search, you might miss out on the opportunity to purchase your dream residence.

Meeting with banks and credit unions prior to checking out properties is ideal. This will allow you to obtain a mortgage and search for houses that fit your price range.

Moreover, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may help you stand out in the eyes of a home seller, as he or she won't have to wait for you to secure financing to finalize a purchase agreement.

3. Lack of Realistic Expectations

As a homebuyer, it is important to understand that every house has its pros and cons. But if you fail to establish realistic expectations for the homebuying process, it may be impossible for you to find the right property at the right price.

Separating your homebuying wants from your homebuying needs is vital. If you determine exactly what you'd like to find in your dream home before you explore the real estate market, you can narrow your search and streamline the process of acquiring the perfect residence.

Furthermore, hiring a real estate agent can make a world of difference for homebuyers. Your real estate agent can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and help you submit offers on residences. This real estate professional also can offer homebuying recommendations, ensuring that you can minimize the risk of homebuying mistakes.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner. Collaborate with a real estate agent today, and you should have no trouble securing your ideal residence.




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Posted by Diane Stone on 6/18/2017

After you launch a search for the perfect home, it may seem like a fast, easy process to acquire your ideal residence. But if you're not careful, you may encounter many homebuying hurdles along the way.

Lucky for you, we're here to ensure that you can streamline the process of purchasing your dream home. Here are three tips that you can use to accelerate your push for the perfect house:

1. Determine Exactly What You Want

Spend some time considering what you want out of your dream house. By doing so, you'll be able to speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, no two houses are identical, and homebuyers who know what to look for in a dream house can narrow their search for the perfect residence.

If you understand what you want out of a house, you'll be able to budget accordingly as well. Thus, you may be able to improve your chances to buy your dream residence and avoid the temptation to overspend on a house if you plan ahead.

2. Examine a Large Assortment of Houses

After you narrow your home search, take an up-close look at residences that fit your needs.

Open houses frequently are held on weekends throughout the year, making it easy for you to check out available residences without having to rework your weekday schedule. Plus, open houses ensure that you can browse a house at your convenience and find out if a property corresponds to your budget and lifestyle.

Don't forget to set up individual home showings, either. These home showings will enable you to assess all aspects of a residence. And if you are satisfied with a residence following a showing, you can submit an offer.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

The homebuying journey features many twists and turns, and as such, there is no need to navigate it on your own. Fortunately, many experienced real estate agents are available to help you purchase your dream house.

An experienced real estate agent understands the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market. Therefore, this real estate professional knows what it takes to acquire a residence in any real estate market, at any time.

With an experienced real estate agent at your disposal, you won't have to worry about missing out on your dream residence. Instead, your real estate agent will keep you informed about new houses that may meet or exceed your expectations as soon as these properties become available. Your real estate agent also will offer recommendations for submitting a competitive offer on a residence, conducting a home inspection and much more.

Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent is happy to share his or her expertise with you. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, this real estate professional will respond to your queries without delay.

For homebuyers, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Employ an experienced real estate agent, and you can streamline your search for the perfect house.




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