When Should I Begin Looking At Homes?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer.  It depends on the availability of homes that meet your criteria.  If there are many properties on the market, you’ll probably find something within a month of actively looking.  If you are looking for something specific, it can take months (sometimes years) for that property to come on the market.

A good way to establish a timeframe for looking at homes is to work backwards from your ideal move-in date.  If you are renting, when does your lease expire?  If you are selling first, when is your settlement date? Do you want a few weeks overlap so you can make improvements and take your time to move?  Are you flexible?

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Home Inspections

Me, my awesome clients, and Brian the home inspector

Me, my awesome clients, and Brian the home inspector

In my opinion, every buyer should have a home inspection unless you plan on tearing down the property and building something else in its place.  A home is typically the largest investment of a person’s life, and you want to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting into.  It’s a little scary to think that, just a few years ago, buyers had to waive their home inspection contingencies in order to actually get the home.  The market has normalized, and now most sellers allow buyers to conduct not only home inspections, but radon, mold, and lead-based paint inspections.  I want to talk a little bit about what to expect during a home inspection, and give you my tips on how to get the most out of the experience.

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Home Warranties

My washing machine just broke…again.  It’s only 1 year and 3 months old!  Before this GE washer, I purchased a new Maytag when my husband and I bought our home in 2004.  The one that came with our house was the original 1970’s olive green machine.  It still worked well, but I felt kind of gross washing my clothes in something older than me.  The Maytag started having problems a few months after the manufacturer’s warranty had expired.  Finally, the tub cracked and the home warranty company gave us the new GE machine.  Now that machine is having issues.  They just don’t make things the way they used to!

Thank goodness we have a home warranty.  A home warranty is a renewable yearly service contract that protects sellers against the cost of unexpected repairs or replacement of major systems and appliances in their home.   It’s basically an extended warranty for the parts of your home.  When a part breaks, you call the home warranty company and they send a contractor out to fix it.  If it is beyond repair, they replace the item with another one of similar quality. Continue reading

Earnest Money Deposits: Everything you ever wanted to know

Think of an earnest money deposit as a security deposit.  Once a home goes under contract, the seller will no longer seek other offers during the time the buyer needs in order to fulfill the contract.  In exchange for not advertising their property for sale, the seller wants some security that the buyer will not break the contract.  How does the seller get that security?  Money!

 

Most often, the earnest money deposit is a check the buyer submits with their offer.  It is only cashed when both buyer and seller have agreed to all terms of the offer, and everyone has signed the contract.  The check is then cashed immediately by the buyer’s agent’s company and held in escrow until settlement.  A buyer will get their earnest money deposit back at settlement, and the amount gets credited back to them…it usually goes towards the down payment or closing costs. Continue reading