Home Buyer Tips

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling a HomeWhether buying a new home or selling the current one, all prospective buyers should work with an experienced real estate agent. Having an agent is the best way for a buyer or seller to help themselves get the best deal regarding their home as well as make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible. However, it can be difficult for buyers and sellers to know what to look for in an agent, especially if they’ve never bought or sold a home before, so here are some of the different things...

5 Essential Packing Tips For Moving To a New Home

5 Essential Packing Tips For Moving To a New HomeMoving is a big job that takes a lot of effort, and it can easily seem overwhelming to homeowners who aren’t ready for it. But just how does someone get all of their possessions ready to move to a new home without getting stressed out? Having a plan of attack can be extremely helpful to have in mind when getting ready to move, so here are five essential steps all homeowners should use when packing up for the big move.

1. Start Packing Before the Home is Sold

While it might seem a little premature to start packing ...

Five Ways Buying a Condo Can Change the Way You Live

Five Perks of the Condominium LifestyleWhile some may call condominiums ‘overpriced apartments' or not consider them to be as ‘good' as a single-family dwelling, there are actually quite a few perks of condo living. In fact, there are a number of solid reasons to buy a condo, ranging from the quality of community life and amenities to their convenient location and potential as investments. Here are five condominium pros to think about before eliminating these types of homes as a potential option.

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Are You Ready to Buy? A Guide for Renters

How Can You Tell If You're Ready to Buy A Home? Buying a home is a big commitment. Many renters find it difficult to judge whether they have time and money to buy a home. Only by talking to a broker, inspecting the local real estate market, budgeting carefully and evaluating lifestyle factors can renters decide whether it's time to buy a home. These tips will help renters decide whether or not the time is right to buy a home.

Know Your Financial Readiness

When purchasing a home, buyers must have money up front for the down payment and for closing costs as well. The amount of money required for a down payment depends...

How to Apply for a USDA Home Loan

How to Apply for A USDA Home LoanUSDA loans are special loans offered by the government for people who want to move out of the city and into the more rural towns and communities across the US. They're notorious for providing extreme financial incentives for families who may be struggling. Ultimately, the government wants to revitalize communities by tempting people to live in the great wide open. For those who don't mind living outside the city limits, it may be time to find out what it takes to secure one of these loans.

Minimum Requirements

There is no down payment required when it comes to a USDA loan because the government is...

What You Need to Know About the 203k Loan

Homebuyer's Guide to 203k Home LoansFor those who see the potential behind a home rather than what's in front of them, the 203k loan is available to make those dreams into a reality. This loan technically falls under the FHA umbrella, but it's structured to help buyers fix up a home that may be in need of more than standard repairs. A 203k loan, however, can get complicated quickly, so learn more about this kind of available home financing option.

The Basics

A typical FHA loan requires a lower credit score of 580, but a 203k loan will ask a little...

Everything Home Buyers Need to Know About VA Loans

What Is A VA Home Loan?Are you one of many who have proudly served your country during wartime or are a reservist? In such cases, you may be eligible for a special type of loan that makes homeownership more accessible and affordable for those making a small down payment. Military personnel and their spouses may find VA loans a useful pathway to owning their first home. Understand more about the VA loan, down payments, and eligibility requirements today.

Who May Qualify for a VA Loan?

Many of those individuals who have served their country may be eligible for a VA loan. Individuals who have served honorably for at least 90 days during a period...

Homebuyer's Guide to FHA Home Loan Essentials

FHA Home Loan GuideAn FHA loan helps home buyers who want to purchase property but who cannot qualify for a standard loan. FHA loans are one of the most popular types of loans available to home buyers. Knowing the benefits of an FHA loan and what you can do to apply for an FHA loan can help you get the mortgage that will allow you to purchase the property you want.

FHA Loan Benefits

Many first time home buyers are attracted to FHA loans because they require a relatively low down payment. For home buyers with a credit score of 580 or above, the down payment for an FHA loan...

What You Need to Know About Making a Down Payment on a Home

Learn the Basics of Making a Down Payment on a HomeA down payment on a home is money given to a mortgage or other lending company by someone wanting to purchase a Buda home. The purpose of a down payment is to reduce the amount borrowed by the home buyer from the lending company and to potentially decrease monthly mortgage payments. Down payments are always expressed as a percentage of what needs to be borrowed to buy a home.

Down Payments Explained

For example, if a couple wants to buy a home costing $100,000 and they have $3000 available to use as down payment, they will need to borrow...

What You Need to Know About Conventional Mortgages

What You Need to Know About Conventional MortgagesGetting a conventional mortgage may sound simple enough, but there are more than a few twists in turns that home buyers should be aware of. Conventional loans aren't backed by the federal government, meaning if a buyer defaults on the loan, it's the lender's responsibility to pick up the slack. Because of this, lenders have a few more stipulations than they would for secured loans. Learn about the most recent changes for loans, what buyers need before applying for a loan, and what lenders are looking for...

5 Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Fixer-Upper

Fixer Upper Home Buying MistakesFixer-upper homes may need special attention that move-in ready homes don’t, but for some buyers, that’s what makes them perfect. However, all buyers interested in a fixer-upper home should be aware of common mistakes other buyers have made. Here are five easy mistakes to make when buying a fixer-upper home and how to avoid them.

1. Paying Too Much

A large part of the appeal of fixer-upper homes is that they cost far less than move-in ready homes. However, that discount is necessary because fixer-upper homes require so much work to bring them up to date and make them livable. So why would a buyer pay the same amount of money...

5 Great Neighborhoods for First-Time Home Buyers in Austin

Great Austin Neighborhoods for First Time Home Buyers

For many first-time home buyers, Austin is the perfect place to settle down. There's plenty of jobs, and the burgeoning tech industry is ensuring that there's more on the way. The cultural vibe is addicting, and people love to get together and hang out in the city's downtown areas. So, for those considering the move to homeownership, why not purchase real estate and make this your home for a while? 

It is important for first-time buyers to know ahead of time that they will likely be faced with challenges in the Austin market. It's a competitive market right now, and it can sometimes be difficult to get an offer accepted when you're up against previous homeowners who may...

Millennial Homeownership in Austin – Overcoming a Strong Market

Landscaping Mistakes Some Homeowners MakeEverywhere you turn, somebody is talking about the Millennials, and it seems like most people doing the talking have a slightly sarcastic or condescending tone. They aren't really the group they're made out to be – times change, and generations adapt to the circumstances they are born into. Now, as they are climbing the ladder and planning for their future, they are facing additional challenges that can be difficult to overcome in certain parts of the country, such as achieving homeownership.

In Austin, many Millennials are having a hard time becoming homeowners due to the strength of the market. This is quite significant, as Millennials...

What are Home Buying Contingencies?

Purchasing a home is a unique consumer experience. It’s not the same as purchasing just about any other product since you’re not able to “return it” like you would with, say, a smartphone. Because of the legal and financial process involved with transferring property, contingencies are imperative for both buyers and sellers alike.

Contingencies are contractual obligations the seller and buyer must fulfil prior to the close of escrow. Essentially, contingencies are a way “out” should one or more of them not be met by either party. They also serve as a form of consumer protection in the event the home inspection produces a report of any major issues.

So, what are the Different Types of Contingencies?

While not an exhaustive list, there are several common contingencies that are often...

How are Home Inspectors Regulated?

There is a mixture of excitement and a bit of anxiety when purchasing a home. Paperwork, loan qualifications, purchase offers, and the escrow process all need to be navigated with a keen eye for detail. Add to this the maintenance and repair responsibilities that home ownership requires, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

With this in mind, the importance of a home inspection prior to purchase cannot be overstated. A thorough examination of a home’s condition can make or break a home sale and is a primary contingency for many mortgage lenders – issues such as a poor foundation or damaged roof can seriously alter the course of the deal when uncovered. Real estate agents and brokers often have specific home inspectors they’ve successfully worked with in the past. However, it’s important for both the buyer and seller to understand how home inspectors are regulated in ...

How do Interest Rates Affect the Price of a Home?

“Interest

Interest rates are a fundamental consideration when buying a home - particularly when a buyer is financing through a traditional mortgage lender (as opposed to the seller carrying the note).

In short, interest rates will, ultimately, affect the price of the home as they are an added cost for obtaining a mortgage. Therefore, understanding several aspects of economics – as tied to interest rates – can save a buyer thousands of dollars (if not more).

To better understand how interest rates may apply to your specific situation, speak with your lender and/or financial advisor.

Interest rate basics

Quite simply, interest rates are a specific amount a lender charges to borrow an...

The Green Real Estate Market: Sustainable Living in Austin

The Austin real estate market is thriving, and the boom is due in large part to the strong, growing economy. As the tech industry continues to make Austin home, an influx of professionals are heading to the city and looking for a place to call home. Not only are many of them looking to buy a large, luxurious property, but they also are concerned about the size of the home's carbon footprint. This has increased the demand for green real estate — eco-friendly properties that allow people to easily implement a sustainable lifestyle and preserve the local environment.

What is an Eco-Friendly Home?

An eco-friendly home is one that includes many environmentally-friendly features that allow an individual to reduce the energy they use and the pollution they emit. There is no set standard to define an eco-friendly home, and many homeowners...

Inside Austin Real Estate: 5 Common Home Styles

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, it's no surprise that the Austin real estate market is enjoying another booming year. The spring has showed continual signs of promise, and the summer is sure to be a record-setting year for home sales and home prices. As buyers set their sights on this community, which boasts a thriving economy anchored by the high-tech industry, it's important to learn more about the types of homes that are available in the city.

These are five of the common home styles that are found in neighborhoods throughout Austin:

Craftsman

The craftsman style is a classic look that has long appealed to buyers in the Austin real estate market. Known for its sturdiness and functionality, the craftsman style also includes several common features. Some...

Looking to Live the Austin Life? Here are Some Areas to Consider

Austin is the rapidly growing city with a vibrant atmosphere that everybody craves. The influx of new residents in Austin has given fresh life to the housing market, making it one of the most competitive and dynamic real estate markets in the country. Home values are rising and inventory levels are still low, leaving buyers searching to score the right home in the heart of the city. 

These five neighborhoods are some where buyers can find the best values and the highest quality of life. Consider focusing your home search on these trendy neighborhoods:

Westgate

Located in the southern portion of the city, Westgate is still considered an up-and-coming...

Tips for Buying and Moving into a New Home

A lot of moving parts are involved in the purchase of a new home, and particularly for buyers who purchase homes in a competitive market, the process can become stressful when not handled properly. Moving companies, contractors, and other services book up quickly, especially during the busy buying seasons for real estate.

For buyers who want to stay ahead of the curve––and ahead of other buyers––getting started early, staying organized, and planning the move carefully can help make the process less difficult.

Purge Excess Stuff

As soon as a decision has been made to buy a new home, even before there's an offer made on a property, start ...