House Hunting Checklist and Worksheet

House Hunting Checklist and Worksheet House Hunting Checklist and Worksheet

House hunting can be challenging and time-consuming. Make sure to follow these 10 tips to make it easier to find your new home.

1.) Take Pictures. They will come in handy when you sit down and compare all of the homes you have visited and ultimately make a decision.

2.) Don’t Do it Alone. A second opinion might help you in choosing which house is the best for you. Bring a friend or family member because two heads are better than one.

3.) Find Your Budget. It will save you a lot of time and headache if you can concentrate only on houses that fit your budget.

4.) Consider the Proximity to Your Place of Work. Research and find out how much money and time it will cost you to commute to work.

5.) Ask about Utilities and Other Maintenance Costs. This will give you a better idea of what your actual expenses will be and help you manage your budget better.

6.) Budget for Additional Costs. Figure out and decide if you can afford other costs like necessary renovations or anything you else you want to add.

7.) Use a Real Estate Agent. Hiring one will save you the hassle of dealing with the very complicated housing market.

8.) Sleep on it before You Decide. Let the idea or decision sit in your head for a while. After a good night’s sleep you may have a different point of view.

9.) Decide on a Neighborhood. Narrow down your search to specific communities that you like and you will have more realistic options to choose from.

10.) Decide What You Need vs. Want. Stay focused on what is important when looking for a house like comfort, safety, access, and neighbors. After that you can decide whether the things you want are worth it or affordable.



Rent vs. Buy: Reasons for Owning a Home or House

Rent vs. Buy Reasons for Owning a Home or House Rent vs. Buy: Reasons for Owning a Home or House

There are many benefits and advantages to homeownership if you are seeking stable monthly housing expenses, tax savings, and a long term investment. On the other hand, there are benefits and advantages to renting if you move frequently or hate lawn work. The real estate market moves up and down in the short term but has consistently appreciated over time.

In the different regions of the United States: the west, the midwest, the northeast, and the south, 70%, 67%, 67%, and 79% percent of renters plan on buying a home in the future, respectively. Homeowners stay in their home for longer periods of time and engage and interact with the people in their communities than renters do. This results in nicer neighborhoods and more involvement in civic activities. Also, homeowners are 16% more likely to be in parent/teacher organizations, 28% more likely to vote in elections, 28% more likely to improve/repair their home, 9% more likely to know their school board representative, and 12% more likely to grow and maintain a garden. Over the past six months, the view on homeownership has become a more positive percentage for Americans. The Millennials, 18-34 years old, have seen an increase of 26%, Generation X, 35-44 years old, have seen an increase of 18%, the Baby Boomers who haven’t retired, have seen an increase of 18%, and the Baby Boomers who are about to retire or already have, have seen an increase of 22%.

Many believe that renting is always less expensive than owning a house, but that is a myth. A fixed rate mortgage will not change for 15 to 30 years, but rent increases about 5% each year. It has been seen in many cases that the total amount of money a homeowner spends over time can actually be a lot less than what a renter spends. Along with the benefit of homeowner’s tax, the savings can be quite significant.

In the example above on the infographic, you can see that by year 3 the renter spends more money renting than the homeowner does on their mortgage because of tax savings. Another reason to own a home is that the mortgage interest rates in the housing market at this time are at historic lows. As shown on the graph on the infographic, in June of 1971 the rate was at 7.53%. The rate went up after a few years but as noted on June of 2011, the mortgage rate dropped to a low 4.52%. In a survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2011, it was noted that 78% of homeowners say that their home is the best investment that they have ever made. In the last graph of the infographic, you can see that home values have risen consistently over time. In June of 1971 the average value for a home was $26,100 and in June of 2011, the average value was $235,200. There are so many reasons to buy or rent a home and these reasons might help you decide which one suits you best.




News for Those in Search of Cheap International Real Estate or a Home

News for Those in Search of Cheap International Real Estate or a Home1 News for Those in Search of Cheap International Real Estate or a Home

The whole world felt the hit when the real estate market fell but many areas of the world’s largest and most desirable destinations remain far beyond the budget of a middle-income family in the United States. Compared to a lot of the world’s biggest cities, it seems that properties in the United States, even in the priciest locations, are a lot cheaper.

The most expensive price per square foot in the U.S. is in New York City at $1,068. To most Americans, that may seem too much, but in Paris, the average price per square foot is at a whopping $3,287, which is almost three times the price of New York.

If you want to pay the least amount as possible for your real estate, consider Houston, TX, or, if you want to move out of the country, take on Santiago, Chile which cost around $54 and $160 per square foot respectively.  Whether you want to take the cheapest, expensive, or something in between, there are many locations around the world that you can choose to fit your budget.


The Influence of Online Ratings and Reviews on Realtors to Potential Buyers Who Need a Real Estate Agent

The Influence of Online Ratings and Reviews on Realtors to Potential Buyers Who Need a Real Estate Agent The Influence of Online Ratings and Reviews on Realtors to Potential Buyers Who Need a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents have multiple ways for home buyers and sellers to access them online, but nowadays that isn’t enough anymore. Multiple studies have proven that consumer reviews of services and products are more compelling than any other type of marketing. To see if this applied to real estate agents as well, ZipRealty surveyed over 2,500 online home buyers to find out how often they use online review sites, what would compel them to contact an agent they found online, and more.

When asked, “How often do you use review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List?”, 38% answered never, 34% answered not often, 18% answered somewhat often, and 10% answered very often.

When asked, “What would most likely make you choose to contact a real estate agent found online?”, 62% responded the agent has great reviews that seemed like they were clearly posted by real customers, 22% responded the agent is active in the community, 8% responded the agent has impressive credentials, 5% responded the agent’s “about me” bio is well written, and 4% responded that the agent has posted glowing comments about their service from anonymous clients.

When asked, “What factors would lead you to leave an online review for a real estate agent?”, it was observed that 65% chose if they gave me excellent service, 19% chose if they gave me average to poor service, 12% if they personally asked me to, and 5% chose if the company they worked for asked me to.

When asked, “If an agent online had many five star ratings but only a few two star ratings, would you still want to contact them?”, 38% replied somewhat likely, 33% replied very likely, 19% replied yes, 9% replied not likely, and 2% replied no.

When asked, “If you had received a recommendation for a real estate agent simply by word of mouth, would you do an Internet search to read more about them before you called?”, 43% responded yes, 28% responded very likely, 16% responded somewhat likely, 10% responded not likely, and 3% responded no.


Current Article on Real Estate Marketing Strategy Help and Examples Both Online and Offline

Current Article on Real Estate Marketing Strategy Help and Examples Both Online and Offline Current Article on Real Estate Marketing Strategy Help and Examples Both Online and Offline

The thought of marketing yourself as a real estate agent might make you scratch your head because you just don’t know where to start. In this case it is vital that you use effective marketing to increase your client base. Here are some tips to increase your visibility in person and through the internet in 10 ways.


1.)    Make your brand easy to recall through business cards, mugs, and various personalized giveaways. This will make it very hard for people to forget your name.

2.)    Host open houses to showcase your real estate skills. It is possible that someone might be impressed with your work and dedication, and become your future client.

3.)    Use word-of-mouth to publicize your work. This is one of the best ways to broaden your connections and create a larger client base.

4.)    Create brochures to spread the word to everyone. There are always people who are looking for a house who do not know which real estate agent to hire, so make sure to catch their attention with your flyers.

5.)    Place ads about your business in newspapers. No matter what area you work in, the newspaper is read by many people, so you are bound to get someone who is interested in hiring you as their real estate agent.


6.)    Set up a website to enhance your online reputation. You can add a page to your website with reviews of your services, which will make people more likely to contact you.

7.)    Make a blog and fill it with relevant and updated content. This will create more traffic to your website and ultimately give you more clients.

8.)    Create a subscription to your online newsletter. If you send an email every once in a while this will remind people of you.

9.)    Take advantage of social networking sites and spread the word. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google + can help you create traffic as you fill them with content. If you put links to your real estate website then you will receive a lot more attention.

10.) Network with other agents through blogs and forums. It is a good idea to connect and communicate with as many people as you can in your field if you want to help your marketing campaign be more successful.

Marketing takes a lot of effort and it does not happen overnight. Keep yourself dedicated and eventually you will see great results.


Differences between a First Time Householder and a Move-up Buyer

Differences between a First Time Householder and a Move up Buyer Differences between a First Time Householder and a Move up Buyer

If you are considering buying a home, you may have noticed that there are many options, like being a first-time buyer or a move-up buyer. Each has their pros and cons, but it might be difficult to decide which may be best for you. In order to help, here are some statistics about typical first time homeowners and move-up buyers.

It was found that the average age of a householder is 33 years old, and, in the same study, it was concluded that the average income of the first-time buyer is $64,074 and that nearly two-thirds of first-time buyer households receive incomes that are between 50% and 150% of the AMI. On the other hand, the average age of move-up buyers is around the age of 45 and their average income is $84,170. Their ratio of household income to the area median income (AMI) has a score of 1.5.

In regards to family and personal life, 31% of first-time buyers have a spouse and children, and households containing only one person are twice as likely to be male headed and households of a single parent are twice as likely to be female headed. Demographically, it has been found that around two-thirds of first-time buyers are white non-Hispanics, 11% are black non-Hispanics, and 15% are white Hispanics. For move-up buyers the average household size is 2.7 persons.

The percentage of first-time buyers that were previously renting is about 77% of the population and the homes they had purchased had a median value of $150,000, with two-thirds of them buying homes lower than $200,000 in value and the median square footage being 1,500. Moreover, 17% of move-up buyers, with their average of higher income, spent more than $500,000 on their homes, which reportedly only 6% of first-time buyers could ever afford.

After conducting a survey it was found that 79% of first-time homebuyers bought single-family detached houses, 11% purchased townhouses, and another 11% chose to buy condominiums. Nearly 86% chose to buy an existing house, while the others purchased a speculatively built home or a custom one. There was a time when first-time homeowners made up nearly half of all existing home sales, but the percentage has dropped to 35%, according to the National Association of Realtors report. It is a hard choice to make on which type of buyer you might want to be but hopefully this information has helped you choose which one is right for you.