Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 12/9/2018

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re upgrading to a larger house to fit your family’s needs, it’s vital to understand just how much house you can afford before you start shopping for homes.

When planning for your future home, there are two main things you need to figure out.

  • What is a smart amount to spend on a home for your budget

  • What are the key features in a home that will give you the most benefits for the cost

These two questions may seem simple, but there are quite a few factors that should go into determining each one.

So, in today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the process of determining what kind of house you can afford so you can make the best home buying decision for you and your family.

A smart home buying budget

To create an effective budget, you’ll need to gather some information and possibly create a spreadsheet with Excel (or a free alternative like Google Sheets).

On your spreadsheet, you’ll first want to add up all sources of income that your family has. This is the easy part for most people who only have one or two sources of income based on a salaried job.

Next, is the hard part--expenses. We can’t just use your current expenses to determine the new budget because we have to account for changes in several areas.

If you aren’t sure of the cost of living for the area you hope to move to, try plugging it into this cost of living comparison tool to see get a better idea of the cost of things like transportation, childcare, groceries, and more.

Likewise, it’s also a good idea to assume you’ll be paying more in utilities if you’re hoping to move into a home that is larger than your current home. Keep in mind, however, that different houses have different levels of energy-efficiency, so it’s a good idea to also ask the seller of the homes you’re interested in to determine what your costs might be.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. The amount remaining should easily cover whatever mortgage payment you receive along with, ideally, 20% of your income going toward savings.

Deciding what you need in a home

The second part of determining how much house you can afford is to find out exactly what you’re looking for in a home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, the size of the backyard; all of these are questions that have a monetary value.

So, to really answer this question you’ll need a strong understanding of what you and your family’s goals are for at least the next 5-7 years, if not longer.

Once you have your long-term goals and a good understanding of your budget, you can start safely shopping for homes with a clearer idea of the type of home you’re looking for and just how much home you can afford.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 11/11/2018

Let's face it – no one wants to deal with a long, arduous homebuying process. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of acquiring your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can enjoy a hassle-free home shopping experience.

1. Consider What You Want from Your Dream House

What separates an ordinary house from a dream residence? The answer to this question varies depending on the homebuyer, and how you answer the question may dictate your homebuying success.

If you enter the housing market with a list of home must-haves, you'll be better equipped than other property buyers to streamline the homebuying process. Thus, you should think about your home must-haves and wants closely.

Differentiate home must-haves from wants – you'll be glad you did. For example, if you have kids, you may need to find a house that's located near top schools. On the other hand, you may want to own a home with a swimming pool. But if you find a top-notch house that offers plenty of great features but lacks a swimming pool, you might not shy away from submitting an offer on this residence.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you should have no trouble finding a house that won't force you to break your budget.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with local banks and credit unions. These lenders can outline the mortgage approval process and provide you with a variety of mortgage options.

Furthermore, if you have mortgage questions, banks and credit unions are available to provide expert responses. These lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals who can help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to receive comprehensive assistance. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you acquire your dream house in no time at all.

A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with buying a home. However, this housing market professional also knows exactly what it takes to overcome myriad homebuying challenges.

For instance, a real estate agent will negotiate with a seller's agent throughout the homebuying cycle. By doing so, a real estate agent can help a buyer get the best price on a residence without the hassle of a stressful negotiation.

Let's not forget about the extensive homebuying expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands all stages of the homebuying process and is happy to share his or her insights with a property buyer. Therefore, if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

There is no need to deal with an anxiety-ridden homebuying process. Take advantage of the aforementioned homebuying tips, and you can keep things simple as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/28/2018

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/7/2018

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The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complex, particularly for an individual who fails to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to get ready to pursue your dream house, such as:

1. Make a Homebuying Budget

A homebuying budget will give you a good idea about how much money you have at your disposal to find your ideal residence. Thus, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can hone your house search to residences that fall within your price range.

As you craft a homebuying budget, you should consider both your house mortgage and closing costs. That way, you can prepare for myriad costs that you may encounter as you try to acquire your dream house.

You also may want to meet with various banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can help you budget for a home purchase. Perhaps best of all, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

2. Narrow Your Home Search

You know you want to purchase a house, but it usually is beneficial to understand what you want to find in your dream residence. If you put together a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Consider your short- and long-term aspirations prior to launching a home search. For instance, if you need a home that is close to your office in the city, you may want to check out residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a residence that includes a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, you should explore homes that offer this feature.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially for an individual who wants to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your dream residence.

Typically, a real estate agent learns about a buyer's goals and crafts a personalized homebuying strategy based on his or her aspirations. If you want to purchase a budget-friendly house as quickly as possible, for instance, a real estate agent will help you accomplish your goal. Conversely, if you are operating on a tight homebuying budget, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you find a first-rate house that won't put you in the red.

Let's not forget about the homebuying expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands all aspects of the homebuying journey and will share his or her industry insights with you. Therefore, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to them at your request.

Those who understand what to expect during the homebuying journey can boost the likelihood of finding a terrific house at an affordable price. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you could reap the benefits of a successful home search.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 9/30/2018

One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.

Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.

Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.

Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.

  • Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
  • Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
  • Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
There are literally dozens of features, characteristics, and quality standards to keep in mind when shopping for a new home, but location, structural condition, and style are three factors that are well worth including on your priority list.







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