Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

Successfully selling a home and buying a home are significant accomplishments on their own, but when their timelines cross it can be difficult to manage both. If you’re thinking about doing both simultaneously, it’s equally important to understand the steps you can take to make the process go smoothly as it is to have a backup plan in case it doesn’t. Above all, the balancing act required to pull off both deals highlights the importance of working closely with a trusted and experienced real estate agent.

Do I buy or sell first?

One can imagine a perfect world in which the two transactions go through one right after the other. However, this is not usually the case. So, should you list your current home first or start by putting in offers on a new one? There are pros and cons to both.

Selling your current home first allows you to make offers on a new home with cash in your pocket, increases your buying power, and avoids having to juggle two mortgages simultaneously. On the other hand, it creates a gap of residence, often leaving homeowners wondering where they’ll stay until they move into their new home or whether they may need to rent before they can buy again. Sellers may also negotiate a rent-back agreement with the buyers, allowing them to rent the house from the new owners before they move in.

Buying before selling solves the need for any temporary housing and makes the overall moving process much easier. Having a residence established ahead of time means you’ll only have to move once, which can save you some serious stress during this time of transition. Oppositely, buying a new home before you sell your current one will put an added strain on your finances. Having two concurrent mortgages equates to taking on more debt, which could result in less-than-favorable loan terms for purchasing your new home. Without the lump sum generated by a home sale in your pocket, coming up with enough money for a down payment may be a challenge and obtaining private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be in the cards. Finally, buying before selling comes with an obvious assumption—that your current house will sell.

Ultimately, the order of operations depends on your situation. Perhaps you’re moving due to a change of employment, and you need to direct all your energy toward buying a new home by a certain date before you can even think about selling your current one. No matter which route you take, it’s important to communicate your timeline to your listing agent or your buyer’s agent so they can strategize accordingly.

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time 

Local Market Conditions

Buying and selling at the same time will come with a certain duality: at each step in the process, you’ll have to balance your responsibilities as both a buyer and a seller. For example, when assessing your local market conditions, you’ll be looking at not one, but two housing markets.

  • Seller’s Market: Selling in a seller’s market means that that you’ll need to be prepared to move once you list, since you could be looking at a short selling timeline. However, relying too heavily on the assumption that your house will sell quickly could make things dicey down the road. If you’re buying in a seller’s market, finding a new home may take longer than expected. You could potentially be waiting weeks or months for an offer to get accepted.
  • Buyer’s Market: Selling in a buyer’s market typically means that homes stay on the market longer. If you proceed with a new home purchase just after you’ve listed your current house, know that it may take a while to sell. If you’re buying in a buyer’s market you can afford to be picky, knowing that time is on your side. With fewer people buying homes, sellers will be more flexible, giving you leverage to negotiate your contingencies.

Having a Backup Plan

If only you could wave a magic wand and make both transactions go through as planned. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place to right the ship should things go sideways at any point in the buying or selling process. Talk to your agent about which options may be right for you. Here are a few:

  • Sales Contingency: Buying your new home with a sales contingency allows you to opt out of the purchase contract if your home doesn’t sell by a specified date. Purchasing contingent on the sale is rare in highly competitive markets.
  • Bridge Loan: If your current home hasn’t sold yet and you’re not able to afford the down payment on a new home, a bridge loan may be a fitting solution. Bridge loans can be used to cover the down payment on a new house and are repaid once your existing home has sold.
  • Rent-Back Agreement: A rent-back agreement is a clause in the sales contract that allows the seller to rent their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the buyer moves in. This can be especially helpful in situations when the seller is having trouble finding a new home.

For more information on buying and selling a home at the same time, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent today by clicking on the button below.

The post Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

What to Consider When Buying an Equestrian Property

Buying a horse property is not your typical home purchase, especially for first time buyers. If you’ve never shopped for a horse property before, there is much to learn on the road to finding the best property for your needs. Working with an experienced Equestrian Advisor will also help ensure your home search and purchase go as smoothly as possible.

Horse Property Acreage

Just because a property has plentiful acreage doesn’t mean it will be suitable for horse care. The land must be flat-to-gently-sloped for grazing and provide adequate access to your horses’ basic needs. You want to look for properties with usable land – meaning there are not acres of unusable gullies, steep edges, or too many bodies of water that could make it difficult for your animals to navigate the property. Pay attention to local regulations about how much acreage is required per horse.

Zoning Instructions

If the property currently has horses or has in the past, do not assume it is an approved horse property. Part of your Equestrian Advisor’s job will be to ensure the property is in line with the local city, county, and/or HOA regulations for agriculture and livestock. Neglecting to verify the property could mean a significant financial setback if your horse property were the source of future legal issues and penalties.

Stable Inspections

When conducting the primary home inspection, be sure to have the barn and stables inspected as well. This could lead to higher upfront costs but skipping it could cause a huge headache later. Having a professional evaluate the barn and stables can reveal structural issues, electrical issues, or other potential problems that you would want to know about before you sign any paperwork.

Amenities

Housing horses and livestock on your property can be done with much more ease with a few convenient amenities. When touring prospective properties, look for the following:

  • Frost-proof spigots in the pasture, arena, and turnouts
  • Heated waterers in the stalls
  • Sufficient hay storage area
  • Tack room with a fridge for medication and supplements
  • Wash bay
  • Arena or training round pen

Your Routine

Transitioning to an equestrian lifestyle is a big adjustment, especially if this is your first time. Make sure you are taking your daily routine into consideration when looking at properties. How close are you to the barn? Where is the main water source? Careful planning every step of the way will make adapting to your new property much smoother and easier.

To connect with an experienced Equestrian Advisor today, click the link below: 

Equestrian Advisor

The post What to Consider When Buying an Equestrian Property appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Is Co-Buying Right For You?

For some buyers, purchasing a home independently may be out of reach. Co-buying is an alternative approach to homeownership where two or more individuals purchase the property together and take on a joint mortgage. Get to know the benefits and drawbacks of co-buying before deciding whether it’s right for you.

How Does Co-Buying Work? 

Just like a traditional home purchase, lenders use the buyers’ debt-to-income ratios and credit scores to determine their mortgage eligibility and formulate the terms of their loan. The lender will use the lowest median credit score to determine whether the co-buyers qualify. Before you purchase with a co-buyer, work with a real estate attorney to flesh out the details of the agreement including the distribution of shares, the responsibility of each party for the down payment and subsequent mortgage payments, and the home’s title. There are two main options for taking title to a home with a co-buyer.

Tenancy in Common (TIC)

  • When co-buyers hold a title as tenants in common, shares of the property can be divided equally or unequally. You and a co-buyer can decide to split ownership to reflect the amount invested. However, even if these amounts are unequal, no one individual may claim sole ownership of the property. If a co-buyer dies, their ownership passes along to their designated heir. With Tenancy in Common, a co-owner may sell their shares of the property at any time, without the need for approval from other co-owners.

Joint Tenancy

  • Joint Tenancy—or Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)—requires that all co-buyers hold an equal interest in the property and that they all come into ownership through the same title at the same time. If one co-owner dies, ownership passes to the other co-owner—this is known as Right of Survivorship. Unlike Tenancy in Common, co-owners must receive approval before selling any property shares.

Pros and Cons of Co-Buying

Pros of Co-Buying

For those who don’t have the buying power to purchase a home on their own, co-buying presents an opportunity to combine assets and enter the market. Since lenders will be factoring in both of your incomes, you and your co-buyer will increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage and securing a low interest rate. Both of you will build equity over time as you pay back your joint mortgage. Even after the down payment and mortgage payments, there are a handful of costs that come with being a homeowner. Co-buying allows you to split these costs, saving money on bills, utilities, maintenance costs, and the like.

Cons of Co-Buying

Co-buying a home means you are relinquishing some control over the homeownership costs. At the end of the day, you can’t control your co-buyer’s finances. If a sudden life change leaves them financially unstable, the burden will fall on your shoulders, and you’ll have to make up the difference. Similarly, your credit score could take a hit if your co-buyer is unable to make their mortgage payments, even if you’ve consistently made yours. 

 

Before entering a co-buying agreement, it’s important that you and your co-buyer are on the same page about the terms of ownership and your expectations as joint homeowners. Working closely together will help maintain the health of your finances, and most importantly, your relationship.

For more information on purchasing a home, visit the buying section on our blog:

Blog – Buying

To begin your home buying journey, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent on our website by clicking on the button below. 

The post Is Co-Buying Right For You? appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Should You Rent or Buy When Moving Away?

There are certain advantages to moving down the street or across town. You’ll likely have a basic understanding of the local market conditions, you’re familiar with the area, and the limited distance between the home you’re selling and the one you’re moving into makes the moving process a bit easier. But moving to a new city or state that you’re not as familiar with can lead to questions about whether you should buy a home right away or rent until you know the area better.

Weighing the pros and cons between the two options while factoring in your lifestyle, your plans for the future of your household, and your budget will help guide you toward your decision.

 

Pros and Cons of Renting

Pros

The word that comes to mind to make the case for renting when moving to a new place is flexibility. By renting, there is less pressure to take the plunge on buying a new home right away. It gives you a chance to land, get to know the area, and explore what’s available on the market. For example, if you’re moving to a new city for work but have never been there before, renting might be a fitting solution to get your feet under you until you have a better idea of where you’d want to live long-term. All in all, renting can simplify the relocation process. With renting, it’s easier to predict your monthly expenses. And, in the event that something breaks or needs repair, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix it.

Cons

If you previously owned a home, moving into a rental likely means you’ll have to downsize. This may put you in a situation where you have to put some of your belongings in storage, adding an expense to the moving process. If you eventually decide to buy a home, you’ll have to move again from your rental. Moving twice, especially if it’s in a short timeframe, may not be worth the stress. It’s also worth noting that as a renter, your payments help build the homeowner’s equity, not your own. Therefore, the longer you rent, the longer you delay building your own wealth. Finally, renters are at the mercy of their landlords. If they decide it’s time for a rent increase, or that they want to sell the property, you’ll have to adjust accordingly.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Pros and Cons of Buying

Pros

Though buying a home right away is a larger financial commitment than renting, it allows you to quickly get settled in your new hometown. You won’t have to grapple with the challenges of downsizing to an apartment and you won’t have to worry about moving multiple times in the short term. Home ownership is also a gateway to building wealth over time.

Cons

If you’ve never visited your new hometown, it can be challenging to get a true feel for the area, which can lead to buyer’s remorse. Buying a home requires a significant financial commitment, especially if prices in the market you’re moving to are higher. Though the rewards of successfully buying a home are great, the process is full of intricacies and details that can add stress to the moving process, which you may not be up for right away. Furthermore, unlike renting, as a homeowner you are responsible for the maintenance of your property. Making repairs, tending to the yard, and keeping up the countless systems within the home requires time and money.

Ultimately, whether it’s best to rent or buy when moving to a new area depends on what’s right for you and your household. Are you looking to put down roots right away? Would you prefer to live in the area for a while before deciding where to live? Taking time to consider these factors and working closely with a real estate agent will help identify the right option for you.

 

To get started on finding the right home for you, connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent on our website today:

The post Should You Rent or Buy When Moving Away? appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Buyers are constantly looking for ways to streamline the buying process, whether that’s working with their agent to identify how they can increase their buying power, getting pre-approved, or being as cash-ready as possible. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), though it is an additional expense, can be a gateway to homeownership, and for some buyers, may be their only choice to secure the required financing for a home.

 

What is PMI?

Understanding PMI begins with understanding down payments. A down payment is a lump sum payment made by the buyer early on in the process of obtaining a mortgage. The magic number lenders prefer to see paid down is usually twenty percent of the home’s purchase price. If a buyer doesn’t have that secured, the lender will typically require the buyer to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which protects the lender against the possibility of the buyer defaulting on the mortgage.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

The Benefits of PMI

Fortunately, it’s not all-or-nothing when it comes to the twenty percent down payment—if you don’t have that amount on-hand, you can still purchase a home. Private Mortgage Insurance creates a pathway to home ownership for buyers who find themselves in this situation. Although PMI can raise the buyer’s monthly costs, it allows them to move in and start building equity immediately. For this reason, PMI may be a saving grace for buyers who are looking to leave their days of renting behind them and become a homeowner.

 

Alternatives to PMI

Saving up enough money to make a twenty percent down payment is the most direct way to avoid private mortgage insurance, but a down payment of this size may not be feasible for some buyers, especially in markets where prices are on the rise. Here are some alternatives:

Piggybacking

A common alternative to PMI is to take out a second loan to pay back the twenty percent down in addition to the primary mortgage. This is known as piggybacking, which rearranges the loan into an 80/10/10 split, where the first loan accounts for 80 percent of the total property value, the “piggyback” or second loan covers the next ten percent, and the down payment covers the remaining ten percent. (There are other loan structures besides 80/10/10, this is just one example.) This can be an effective strategy for those who are ready to purchase a home but do not have the savings to make the full down payment. However, buyers should be aware that the second loan will likely come with higher interest rates.

VA Loans

VA Loans are a helpful resource for active service personnel and veterans looking to purchase a home. Not having to purchase mortgage insurance is included among the list of benefits VA Loans offer to qualified buyers, however, they require a one-time “funding fee” that functions similarly to mortgage insurance.

Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance

LPMI may be a viable option for buyers in certain cases. Not to be confused by the name, LPMI is a restructuring of the loan in which the lender pays the mortgage insurance premium upfront. LPMI will remain in place for the life of the loan and usually comes with higher interest rates. Buyers should consider the terms of LPMI and how they differ from standard PMI to decide which is right for them.

Other

Other types of loans offer an alternative to conventional mortgages. FHA loans have their own mortgage insurance, as do USDA loans. The mortgage insurance premium (MIP) on FHA loans may be favorable, but buyers should keep in mind that in most cases they will be paying two different insurance premiums—the upfront rate and an annual fee. To be eligible for a USDA loan, there are several requirements that both the buyer and the property must meet.

 

To navigate the process of home financing and learn about the options around obtaining Private Mortgage Insurance, it helps to work closely with a great real estate agent who can help their clients identify lenders in their network that they know and trust to secure the right loan. For more information on purchasing a home, visit the buying section of our blog: Windermere Blog – Buying

The post Understanding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

The Importance of Homeowners Insurance

In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset, and it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowners insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured.

 

What a Standard Homeowners Policy Covers

A standard homeowners insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as wildfires, a winter storm, or lightning. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft.

Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.

Other coverage in a standard homeowners policy typically helps cover the legal costs for injury or property damage caused to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home. If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.

Keep in mind that homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the owner(s) living in the home. If you plan on renting out your home, you’ll need to purchase landlord insurance in addition to your homeowners policy.

 

How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?
  • Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?
  • Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?

Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home is sufficiently protected.

 

Protect Your Assets

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowners insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that even a dog bite claim can easily be tens of thousands of dollars. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.

 

Rebuild Your Home

You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property.

The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes. Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.

 

Replacing Your Valuables

If something happens to your home, chances are the items inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the items.

There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.

To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.

 

Create a Home Inventory File

It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. This extra preparation also helps to keep your mind at ease.  The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room individually and record the items of significant value. You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following:

  • Item description and quantity
  • Manufacturer or brand name
  • Serial number or model number
  • Where the item was purchased
  • Receipt or other proof of purchase / photocopies of any appraisals—along with the name and address of the appraiser
  • Date of purchase (or age)
  • Current value
  • Replacement cost

Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles. Simple inventory lists are available online.

 

Storing Your Home Inventory List

Make sure your inventory list and images are safely stored in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Keep them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged.) Once your inventory file is set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.

We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster. Homeowners insurance is that safeguard. Be sure you’re properly covered.

The post The Importance of Homeowners Insurance appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

5 Mistakes to Avoid After Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved is a great first step for buyers, but there can be a number of hurdles in the process. Here are a few cautionary steps that can be taken to make the experience as smooth and worry-free as possible.

 

Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved has many benefits for buyers: it strengthens their buying power, assists in identifying their price range, helps communicate their preparedness to sellers, and, once their offer is accepted, helps to speed up the closing process.

Pre-approval is broken down into two steps: pre-qualification and pre-approval. During pre-qualification, buyers will share their financial information with their bank or lender to understand the approximate loan amount they can expect to qualify for. The pre-approval process is a little more involved, as the lender will conduct a thorough review of the buyer’s financial health to give them a more detailed picture of how much they can borrow, estimated monthly costs, and what interest rate they can expect on their loan.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Mistakes to Avoid After Pre-Approval

Being pre-approved doesn’t mean buyers are all set. There are certain mistakes that can throw buyers off course, and in some cases, lead to a denial of financing. Here are five common mistakes that can do just that:

  1. Large Purchases

    Any large purchases—credit or cash—made after getting pre-approved can easily cause trouble for buyers. Making a large credit purchase equates to increasing debt, which raises a buyer’s debt-to-income ratio. Large cash purchases decrease a buyer’s cash-readiness from the time when they were pre-approved. In both scenarios, the lender may call into question a buyer’s ability to make their mortgage payments.

 

  1. Quitting or Changing Jobs

    Knowing that a buyer has a stable source of income is important to lenders. Accordingly, it is best for a buyer to wait until after the home loan process is complete before taking steps to change their employment. Not only could changing jobs potentially put their mortgage pre-approval at risk, but it could also delay their settlement, since it takes time to prove a new salary.

 

  1. Unpaid Bills

    Missing bill payments can be especially harmful to a buyer’s candidacy in the time between getting pre-approved and closing on the home. During pre-approval, lenders are using your ability to pay bills on time to help them paint a picture of your finances and it’s important to keep that picture consistent.

 

  1. New Credit

    Opening new credit accounts will likely change a buyer’s credit score, which may cause adjustments in their interest rate. Lenders, upon seeing a new line of credit, even a store credit card, may elect to review the buyer’s risk of non-payment.

 

  1. Paying Off Debt

    While most people would think paying off debt is a good thing, if a buyer pays off any significant loans or credit card debt after pre-approval, their lender will want to know where the money came from. The decrease in debt will also have an effect on the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, which may alter their creditworthiness.

 

The period of time between pre-approval and closing on a home can be a tedious one for buyers. Before making any significant financial decisions, it’s helpful for buyers to speak with their lender to get an idea of how it may impact their financial standing. The complexities of this process also highlight the importance of working with an experienced agent.

For assistance planning a home purchase, connect with a Windermere Real Estate agent here: Connect With An Agent

The post 5 Mistakes to Avoid After Pre-Approval appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Moving Into a Vacation Home

For some homeowners, purchasing a second home – or a vacation property – provides a place where they can have a change of scenery and an escape from day-to-day living. Since the start of the pandemic, a number of homeowners have chosen to move into their vacation homes to do exactly that on a longer-term basis. However, certain aspects of buying and moving into a vacation home differ from a traditional home purchase, so it’s important to work with a buyer’s agent who understands the nuances of both.

 

Before You Buy

One of the first things to consider before buying a vacation property is whether you are financially ready to take on everything that comes with managing and maintaining another home. If you’re still in deep with your primary residence’s mortgage and are not cash-ready, it may not be the best time to purchase a second home.

Like any home purchase, there are pros and cons to owning a vacation home. Vacation properties are likely to retain their value depending on where they’re located. They also allow you to experience the never-ending vacation lifestyle. However, owning a vacation property can come with its own set of unique expenses. Not only will be you responsible for all the maintenance work that you might normally leave to a property management company, but if the vacation home is located on the water or a steep hillside, you can also expect higher homeowner’s insurance costs.

 

Moving In

Any moving process presents unforeseen challenges and moving into a vacation home is no different. Whereas previously the home provided accommodation for relaxing, moving in will require it to meet the demands of everyday living. It may be high time to make repairs or upgrades to the home, which could drive up your move-in costs.

Before moving in, assess the condition of all furnishings to get an idea of what needs replacing. Making the home your main residence will put added strain on your appliances, so what may have previously worked well for short-term stays won’t cut it for full-time living. Check your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer to see if they need updating before moving in.

If you’ll be working remotely in your vacation home, think about your desired work conditions before putting together your home office. Having a designated workspace will help balance your home and work life.

The post Moving Into a Vacation Home appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Buying with Gardening in Mind

Every home buyer has a list of must-have amenities that they’re just not willing to compromise on. For some, it could be an open floor plan or maybe a certain number of bedrooms. For others, that priority is a place to garden.

A garden provides a place where one can nurture the earth, feel connected to other living things, and have a positive impact on the environment. If you’re a home buyer who requires space to garden, here are a few things to consider:

 

The Hardiness Zone

When searching for a home, location is always high on the list of priorities, and for gardeners, it’s no different. If having a garden is important to you, the first thing you should do is check the hardiness zone to determine what you can realistically grow at any home you are considering buying.

Hardiness Zones are used by gardeners and growers around the United States to determine which plants will grow best in their region. The USDA uses the average annual minimum water temperature in the area to establish the zones, making it a great place to start when looking for your next garden.

Hardiness Zones don’t change by street like neighborhoods do but knowing where you are in the zones map can be a helpful guide to what to expect, especially if you’re moving to a completely new region.

 

Outdoor Space

Your Windermere agent will be able to use a combination of property metrics, photos, and land surveys to help narrow down your search to homes with adequate outdoor space for a garden.

Ask your agent about lot size versus the home size to make sure there is enough land to build and sustain a garden. Prior to visiting homes in person, check the exterior photos to get an idea of the area.

 

Local Wildlife

Local wildlife organizations have resources about the animals that might appear in your backyard. Knowing this will not only help you protect your veggies, herbs, and other plantings, but also aid in creating a wildlife-friendly sanctuary. The National Wildlife Foundation offers suggestions on how to do this and offers tips on how to attract songbirds and butterflies to your garden.

 

Infrastructure Requirements

Depending on the size of your garden, you may need to set up appropriate infrastructure for easier care, like a sprinkler system, raised beds, or outbuildings. If the land is uneven, consider installing raised beds that will help flatten the growing surface for your veggies and fickle flowers. A greenhouse can help you control humidity and light levels but be sure to consider the construction costs alongside your home loan amount.

The post Buying with Gardening in Mind appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Working with a Buyer’s Agent

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

 

A typical real estate transaction involves a buyer’s agent representing the buyer and a listing agent representing the seller. A buyer’s agent helps the buyer identify potential homes to pursue, advises them on negotiations, and helps navigate any hurdles during the buying process. Once they are under contract, the buyer’s agent will work to close the sale, monitoring all the key dates and deadlines along the way. Once the transaction is complete, buyer’s agents split the commission of the sale with the listing agent.

 

Advantages of Working with a Buyer’s Agent

Find the right home

A buyer’s agent not only possess expert knowledge of local market conditions, but they also have access to tools that will help their clients see the widest array of available homes, and eventually, find the right home. By exploring the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), they can access the vastest network of available listings, and receive up-to-date alerts on open houses. They are usually the first to know when a home hits the market and are sometimes aware of homes that are scheduled to list in the near term.  Buyer’s agents can advise their clients on how a home’s outstanding repairs and improvements could affect their decision to purchase, whether the home is in need of an inspection, and discuss the necessity of a home warranty.

 

Save time

Buying a home takes time, but a buyer’s agent will help streamline the buying process. This includes paying close attention to their client’s budget and preferences in order to focus their home search to only those listings that match their needs. Buyers can then decide which homes they would like to view in-person and their agent will contact the corresponding listing agent to set up showings. Buyer’s agents are founts of knowledge, able to provide or track down information a buyer may not be able to readily access on their own. Additionally, they are connected to a network of professionals and can produce references for mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, inspectors, and more as needed.

 

Making an Offer

Once you’re ready to make an offer on a home, the importance of working with a buyer’s agent kicks into high gear. There are many different elements that impact an offer’s success, and this is where a good buyer’s agent’s specialty lies. Through their expertise, they can help their clients craft a more competitive offer and negotiate as needed. Sometimes the most competitive offers are not just about the price. Offers can win when a buyer’s agent has researched the seller’s needs and pulled together an offer that speaks to those needs. Any advantage buyers can gain to make their offer stand out will strengthen their case. This is especially important in competitive markets when multiple competing offers are on the table.

Throughout the process of making an offer on a home, a buyer’s agent is there to answer any questions that may arise and pore over the details so that nothing goes unnoticed. This is critical since sellers will likely toss aside any offers that come in with missing documents, errors in the contract, and other inconsistencies. When buying a home, buyers often fear that they will miss something during the buying process, that they are going to pay too much, that there will be something wrong with the house after they buy it, or that they’ll lose the home to another buyer. Buyer’s agents help to alleviate these stresses and make sure the buying process runs smoothly.

 

When determining which agent to work with, it’s important to ask questions to gain an understanding of their expertise, see their personality, and get a gauge of how well they understand what you’re looking for in a home. If you would like some help connecting with an agent, you can get started here: Connect with An Agent

The post Working with a Buyer’s Agent appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.