5 Ground Rules for Home Buying Success

Ground Rules for Success - Kelsey and Jorge Realtors

There are few purchases in life that carry the financial and psychological weight of buying a home.  Whether you are buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing your home and your life after the kids have gone, it is important to understand the ground rules for success in the world of buying a home.

 Making the wrong decision in buying a home can have devastating and long-lasting effects, while making a wise decision in home buying can greatly enhance the overall value of the investment.  It is necessary to learn all you can about the world of home buying and mortgages before setting out to purchase the home of your dreams.

While there are plenty of web sites designed to help first time homeowners learn all they can, most financial experts say that there is no substitute for the good old one-on-one learning. Fortunately, most mortgage lenders, home inspectors and real estate agents will be able to provide this kind of one-on-one learning.

When buying a home, it is often best to use a systematic approach as this is often the best way to be sure that all decisions are based on information and reason, not on impulse or emotion.  Buying a home can be an emotional process, nevertheless it is imperative to keep your emotions under control and not let them cloud your judgment.

 There are five basic ground rules when it comes to buying a home and shopping smart, and they are: 

1) Get Your Financing Before You Get Your Home

There are few things in life as disappointing as losing out on the home of your dreams due to not being able to secure funding.  While the desire to get out there are search for that great home is understandable, it is vital to line up the financing you will need before you start shopping for a home.

 Getting the financing ahead of time has a number of important advantages, including knowing how much you can buy and gaining more respect from the listing agents.  By knowing how much home you can afford before you shop you will avoid wasting your time looking at unaffordable properties, and the listing agent will be more than willing to show you the homes in your price range.

 It is also important to take a good look at the various types of mortgage on the market before getting started in the home buying process.  These days, mortgages come in far more choices than the typical 15 or 30 year. For that reason, potential home buyers need to understand how each type of mortgage works, and to gauge which mortgage is the best choice for their needs.

2) Look at the Community, Not Just the Home

It is a good idea to look at the entire community, instead of focusing on a single home. This can be a particularly important thing to consider for those moving to a new metropolitan area, as these buyers will be unfamiliar with the local climate and lifestyle.  It is crucial to determine the areas of town that are most desirable, and to consider things like distance from work and local shopping opportunities.

We have all heard that location is the key consideration when it comes to real estate, and that is certainly the case.  Buying a house in the wrong area can be a big mistake, and it is important to choose the location as well as the home.  Potential buyers can learn a great deal about the nature of the various neighborhoods simply by driving around town, as well as by talking to other residents.

Community - Kelsey and Jorge Realtors

3) Be Fair with Your First Offer

Trying to lowball a seller on the first offer can backfire, as can paying too much. It is important to carefully evaluate the local market, and to compare the asking price of the home with what similar houses in the neighborhood have sold for.

Comparing the sales of comparable homes, what are known as “comps” in the industry, is one of the best ways to determine what is fair, and to make sure that you neither overpay or underbid on the property.

4) Always Rely on a Home Inspection

Always investigate the home for any possible defects before making an offer.  Compared to the cost of the average home, the price of a quality home inspection is virtually negligible. Hence, get a good home inspection done before you buy.

 To find the best home inspector, it is a good idea to seek out word of mouth referrals as many of the best home inspectors rely on word of mouth advertising.

5) Do Not Alienate the Sellers of the Home

Many real estate deals have fallen apart due to the personal animosity of the buyer and the seller.  It is important to avoid alienating the seller of the home during the process, and to avoid nitpicking every little detail during the sale.

Keeping the good will of the seller will help the transaction go smoothly, and it will provide the best environment for seller and buyer alike.

Inspections - Kelsey and Jorge Realtors
Julie Herrmann - Highlands Mortgage

About the Author

Julie Herrmann is the Branch Manager at Highland’s Mortgage in Kingston, WA.

Your Mortgage Gal for Life
www.YourMortgageGalforLife.com
Jherrmann@highlandsmortgage.com
Cell (360) 900-7092
Fax (425) 749-5503
11253 NE State Hwy. 104
Kingston, WA 98346
Highlands Residential Mortgage, Ltd. | WA Branch License: CL-2075463

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The Buzz About Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

Property owners in the Greater Seattle Area, as well as around the country, sometimes face an important decision: selecting a new water heater. Should you purchase a conventional water heater with a large tank, or a newer “tankless” brand? This brief article will discuss some of the pros and cons associated with the installation of this technology.

The Development of Tankless Water Heaters

Today, it startles most people to realize the concept of hot water on demand remains comparatively modern. An Englishman named Benjamin Waddy Maughan reportedly patented the first rudimentary water heater in 1868.

Known as the “Geyser,” this Victorian Era device heated water immediately before it entered a bathtub.(1) The invention served as one inspiration for the modern tankless water heater.

During the Twentieth Century, the concept of using a big tank to supply a steady stream of warm water directly to a residential plumbing system gained popularity. The public welcomed this innovation. Obtaining a dependable flow of warm water by simply turning on a faucet became a popular residential amenity during the 1890s and early 1900s.(2)

For decades, most homes in the United States relied upon large tanks to heat water for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

Water Heaters

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Electric Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Although experimentation with tankless water heating systems occurred during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, this innovation did not become commercially available for several decades. During the late 1920s, a German firm named Stiebel Eltron began manufacturing small electric tankless water heating systems.

However, the technology did not really become competitive commercially for widespread residential use in the United States until the 1970s.(2) Today, consumers frequently opt to install tankless water heaters instead of conventional units with large tanks. Tankless designs operate using either gas or electricity. They fall into two categories.

Most frequently, an individual tankless system heats water immediately before use (at the tap level). A few companies also market “whole house” tankless systems designed to accommodate multiple faucets in a single residence.(3)

Some Important Tankless Water Heater Advantages

Tankless hot water heaters have gained popularity recently as a result of some important advantages. First, these units typically operate with greater energy efficiency because they heat water immediately before use. A homeowner does not spend money to heat 40 or 50 unused gallons of hot water at one time.

Second, tankless models tend to enjoy a considerably longer anticipated lifespan than units relying upon large tanks. The cost of this technology pro rated over the entire lifespan of the equipment usually proves less expensive. Additionally, gas-powered units often allow property owners to obtain federal or state tax rebates based upon the use of energy-efficient products.(4)

Third, tankless water heaters installed at the tap level frequently attach directly to a wall underneath a sink. The compactness of many modern tankless water heaters helps make them an ideal choice for use in some motels, hotels, and rental apartments. This technology does not monopolize valuable floor space.

Fourth, the absence of a water tank offers another important practical benefit. Although infrequent, leaks sometimes do occur in home water heating tanks. When they install tankless water heating systems, property owners don’t need to worry about ruptures in the tank soaking floors or causing water to spill onto nearby furnishings.(3)

Fifth, tankless systems permit the precise temperature regulation of hot water. This capability reduces safety problems associated with sudden spikes in hot water temperature. Many experts consider the new tankless units less apt to cause accidental hot water burns than conventional units.(5)

Tankless Water Heaters

The Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

Of course, like every item of equipment, a tankless hot water heater also holds some drawbacks. These units don’t suit every residential property. Equipment with large tanks sometimes remains the best choice for several reasons:

First, the initial cost of acquiring a tankless system sometimes poses a practical barrier to the use of this technology. These innovative systems tend to cost between two and four times as much as conventional water heating equipment. Some buyers consider the initial outlay of funds prohibitively expensive.(5)

Second, property owners frequently must spend money on infrastructure improvements in order to use energy-efficient gas or electric tankless hot water heaters.

For example, it may become necessary to upgrade a home’s electrical system or expand the size of the residential natural gas line. These costs sometimes make the adoption of a tankless system quite expensive.(3)

Third, some rooms in residential properties simply cannot accommodate gas-powered tankless hot water heating equipment. These units require venting to an outside wall. This safety consideration makes this technology impractical for some homeowners.(4)

Fourth, tankless hot water heaters generate brief transient temperature fluctuations which sometimes create discomfort for people desiring immediate access to hot water.

This technology heats water shortly before it leaves the tap. However, bathers must wait a few seconds for the faucet to expel unheated cold water already in the line before they experience a reliable stream of hot water on demand. This problem proves most acute during the use of whole-house tankless heating units serving multiple faucets.(5)

So while a tankless system eliminates safety concerns associated with the use of overly hot water, it sometimes contributes to complaints from users that they must wait for water to warm up.

Fifth, the complexity of tankless hot water heaters means most customers must obtain experienced installation services. Since the use of this equipment often necessitates an infrastructure upgrade, it generally makes sense to depend upon an experienced, licensed HVAC or plumbing professional for assistance. The technology does not lend itself to DIY installation.(4)

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Tankless Water Heaters

Selecting A New Hot Water Heater

Both conventional and tankless hot water heaters supply pros and cons. Consider speaking with an experienced plumber or HVAC contractor about your situation before selecting the best equipment for your home. Not every tankless system suits every property. On the other hand, this technology sometimes produces significant long term savings!

Useful Resources to Research:
1. https://tanksandheaters.com/edwin-ruud-father-of-the-hot-water-heater/

2. https://www.neyerplumbing.com/blog/water-heater-service/a-short-history-of-the-amazing-tankless-water-heater/

3. https://home.howstuffworks.com/tankless-water-heater3.htm

4. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-are-pros-and-cons-tankless-water-heaters.htm

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tankless_water_heating

Tankless Water Heaters

Looking to sell your home?  Use these tips to help you sell from area realtors.

If you found this advice, or any of my advice helpful, please consider buying from one of my affiliates at no additional cost to you and supporting The Military Move. When you click and make a purchase within 24 hours (at no additional charge), we receive a small donation. Thank you!

Jessica Kane

About the Author

Jessica Kane writes for PlumbersStock, the top choice of do-it-yourselfers and professional plumbers alike for all of their plumbing supply needs. 

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Are You Getting the Most House for Your BAH?

Are You Getting the Most House for Your BAH

Home buying is such as important endeavor for families and individuals.  It is such a huge financial move that you want to make sure you are on the right side of things when you pick that perfect starter home or forever dream home.

I remember my experience buying our first home, and MAN what an experience that was.  I will write a whole separate post on that journey.  However for now, I took to the experts to get all the best tips on buying your first or next home.

Are You Getting the Most for Your BAH

Tips to Ensure You are Getting the Best Deal

Tips from Realtor Lauren Taylor

1. Start with Virtual House Hunting. Ask your Agent what type of tools they use to facilitate long distance house hunting. Our buyers benefit from house hunting for months prior to when them arriving at their new duty station. It’s saves homebuyers time and money in the house hunting process!

2. Don’t wait to buy. Home ownership is the greatest wealth separator in America. Many military families wait to purchase a home until retirement and ultimately pay the price as rent increases every year. If you are stationed somewhere for more than 3 years you should consider purchasing a home.

3. Use a REALTOR that specializes in VA Home Loan. The VA home loan is a specialized tool. You wouldn’t ask a pilot to captain a submarine would you?? NO! Ask your REALTOR how many VA home loans they close a month and chose an Agent who is well versed in the 0% down program!

4. Leverage sellers for closing costs. In a low inventory market it is difficult to beat out other offers when you’re requesting closing cost credits. Wait until an inspection has been completed to request credit repairs to help with closing costs. Often sellers won’t want to start the entire process over and will accommodate buyers requests mid-escrow.

Creator of Savvy Homes

Lauren Taylor

Savvy Homes – BIG BLOCK REALITY

 

Use a REALTOR that specializes in VA Home Loan. The VA home loan is a specialized tool.

Tips from Realtor Erin Ward

1. Make sure you are working with a Realtor who understands the military, the VA loan and the difficulties with PCS’ing. The VA will not underwrite a loan for just any home, so having a Realtor who understands the VA appraisal process is imperative.

2. I often work with buyers as early as a year out from their PCS, knowing things can change, but it allows us plenty of lead time to get them into the home of their dreams when they move to Hampton Roads avoiding lag time or lengthy hotel stays.

3. Get pre-approved! Work with your Realtor to connect you with local lenders experienced with VA loans to know how much house you can afford. It’s important to know this information before you begin your home search so that you look only at the homes that will work for you and avoid those that are outside or even too low for you budget which often leads to a frustrating search.

Erin Voirol

Erin Ward

HR/VA Homes and Keller Williams
HRVA Homes
Office: 757-499-5911
 
Keller Williams Elite- Town Center
1 Columbus St Ste 1100, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated

 

Tips from Realtor Nadia Anac

1. Work with a local lender and compare rates. Local lenders have a vested interest in the community they are serving, making them more knowledgeable about the area than a larger, national corporation. They will also be more competitive with their rates, because they are smaller companies who want your business. Getting pre-approved is the first step in the home buying process.

2. Bring your best foot forward when putting in an offer. If you really love a house, put the best offer that you are comfortable with. Sometimes even a personal note to the Seller telling them about yourself and why you love the house can make all the difference.

Nadia Adac

Liz Moore and Associates delivers extraordinary real estate services in Hampton Roads, Virginia including Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, and others.

Tips from Realtor Ruby Stults

1. Buying a home is such a good investment opportunity! The VA loan is an amazing benefit, and everyone should take advantage of it. Remember that you can use your VA loan more than once! They cap the amount you can borrow, not how many times you can use it.

2. Keep in mind that if a company offers you a monetary incentive, that money comes from somewhere, and it’s not from their bottom line.

3. Most importantly, don’t be afraid of real estate agents! As a buyer, having an agent costs you nothing. We are here to help save you time and money. Let us.

Ruby Stults image

Ruby Stults

 Buyer Specialist
 Welcome Home Team of Keller Williams 
Fort Bragg/Fayetteville, NC
Ruby@WelcomeHomeTeamNC.com
You can use your VA loan more than once! They cap the amount borrowed, not how many times used.
Maximizing Your BAH

Are you in the market for a new home? Use one of the amazing ladies above or let me help you find someone.  I am a real estate broker in western Washington, and I have connections worldwide.

Visit my website here or download my app here.

Do you have any tips when you purchased a home to get the most bang for your buck?  Tell us in the comments below and share this article with your friends so they can too.

If you found this advice, or any of my advice helpful, please consider buying from one of my affiliates at no additional cost to you and supporting The Military Move. When you click and make a purchase within 24 hours (at no additional charge), we receive a small donation. Thank you!

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You Should Try This Revolutionary Tool to Home Buying

Savvy Homes

Only some people know about my first home buying experience. It was crazy. We lived in Maryland and got orders to Georgia, April 1st.

But wait, we were moving in June.  We had to determine our housing situation and quick.  Would we live in housing?  Would we rent?  Was it finally time to buy even though we would only be there for 3 years.

We spent two days in Georgia – TWO! Checked out base housing – NOPE.  I wanted to avoid that if possible, not because I don’t like base housing (we were living in base housing in Maryland), but it didn’t bode well for our situation.

The rental market – well that didn’t work well either.  All of the rentals that were big enough for our family were $400 over our BAH – ugh!

Savvy Homes Pinterest Pin

So we drove down and spent two days from our vacation to look at houses.  We looked here, we looked there, yes, we looked everywhere.

We came home with no idea of where we would live. Our agent tirelessly looked. Then – we started Skyping to see houses.  However, the video was fuzzy due to the poor connection, and we had to put a lot of trust into our realtor – who is FABULOUS! However, the process wasn’t streamlined the way I would have liked it to be for my anal self.

Enter Revolutionary Tool

Enter Lauren Taylor, a top realtor and creator of Savvy Homes – a home buying portal that connects agents and buyers in a seamless process.  It allows military buyers an easier method to search for homes in a number of circumstances, such as when the active duty member is deployed or is a geo-bachelor.

Or in my situation, when you are house hunting from a few states away (or heaven forbid, cross-country).

How, You Ask?

Savvy Homes Logo

 

Your real estate agent provides you a list of homes via the MLS in that area.  This is usually done by talking with you, the buyer, on your needs, wants, and budget.  You then select homes off that list that you would like to see virtually in the portal. The agent then takes video of the property to upload to the portal allowing it to be high definition and yet not worry about internet connectivity.  This allows you to see the property in its truest form.

One of the problems buyers have when looking at properties online is that they fall in love with a house based on pictures, the angles, and the staging.  However, when they get to the property it is a MAJOR LETDOWN.

Savvy Homes Portal dismisses “wide angle lenses, RD Real photography, and selective angles. Our system is designed to strip homes of these filtered upgrades and allow viewers to experience the home in its most authentic form so buyers can legitimately decide if it’s worth their time or their offer.” Savvy Homes Young Adult

Once buyers look at the videos, they choose the homes they like and schedule appointments to see those listings in person if needed.

 

What a GREAT idea, right? Saves time and effort all in one. Many buyers have bought from just seeing the videos.

After all, your agent is creating the video for you – not the seller’s agent who wants to sell the property.

But how will you know if the video is enough? It’s virtual baby! You get virtual goggles, like a cool video game or the commercial with the old man having his mind blown with the newest technology, to see the property.  So it’s like you are there viewing the property.

Can I go house hunting again?

Not Just for Buyers

Why would a realtor want to subscribe to a monthly subscription service like this?  Well one, if you work with military buyers, heck even international buyers, time is money.  Unfortunately, our community does not have a lot of either – so a program that allows us to see everything we need to see from someone we trust as if we were there = $.

Taylor states, “Agents film during standard 9-5 Monday through Friday hours. Agents who use our system work 85% less weekends.” Well if I were an agent, that is appealing, and trust me, I am good friends with an agent who works her butt off.  

Savvy Homes Agent Tour

Not to mention, if you are an agent and you use the subscription, if you record a home for a buyer and that buyer passes BUT another buyer shows interest – you can pass that video on to them.  That means you just saved time with a secondary buyer – do you see the ripple effect here?

Check It Out

Overall, I am excited for this new technology – it is cutting edge for our community.  I hope all agents jump on board, but feel free to ask your agent if they have heard of Savvy Homes Portal.  Want to see how Savvy Homes Portal is the home buying tool of the future, check it out for yourself here.

Warning – prepare to see home buying in a different way!

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If you found this advice, or any of my advice helpful, please consider buying from one of my affiliates at no additional cost to you and supporting The Military Move. When you click and make a purchase within 24 hours (at no additional charge), we receive a small donation. Thank you!

Kelsey Ramirez

About the Author

Kelsey Ramirez is a Real Estate Broker in western Washington. She is also a veteran elementary school teacher, military wife, and mom to two daughters.  She is the founder of The Military Move, a military-based website to help families in the PCS process. Kelsey loves to travel, write, and create amazing content.  She has her Masters in Technology, which she uses to learn all new things digital.

With three decades of military support, Kelsey’s mission is to help new and existing military families in their unique adventures through all military topics including PCSing, budgeting, school choice and rights, housing, and especially just being a military spouse.

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