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If you need more room for your growing family, or you’re simply relocating to a new town during the summer months, you may be wondering if bringing your kids along on the house hunting journey is a good idea.
In our experience, there are pros and cons to having kids with you as you try and find the next family home. Here’s what you’ll want to consider before you bring everyone along to open houses and showings.
- Liability matters. If you have a newborn strapped to your chest, it might not be much of an issue to walk through a prospective home, but toddlers are a different story. Your home may be kid safe, but not all homes on the market have been prepared to show with a free-range child in mind. Kids don’t necessarily understand this new home isn’t a playground, and there may be areas which are not explicitly safe for your little ones. ( And another thought: car seats! Be ready to drive in a separate car from your agent or have enough room for an extra adult in the car… see point #4 below).
- Is it an open house or a private showing? Open houses are often group affairs, and you’ll need to check your comfort level bringing your child along in these social settings. Kids can also get bored at these grown-up moments. Will you be able to focus on the home if your attention is split between the home and your kid? Kids are certainly allowed at open houses, but in general it is easier to maximize an open house kid free.
- Is it important to have your child with you? Sometimes, when you have an older child you want to help adjust to the idea of moving, it can be useful to lay the ground rules with your kid and make them feel as though they are important in the process. Teens can also provide valuable perspective on a new home, especially when it comes to checking out home amenities and the bedroom situation. Getting teen buy-in can ease the transition, especially when they’re leaving friends and familiarity behind.
- Sometimes you have no other option. If a babysitter is out of the question, or your schedule is such that having your child with you is a must, you should know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having your kid along for the ride. It can be useful to let your agent know, provided your agent is the one taking you on a tour of the property. This will help the agent remain alert for potential safety and liability issues, and may even help them tailor the time it takes to move through the homes.
We want your whole family to be safe during the home hunt and happy when you’ve found a place you like. Let us help you find the perfect home for your family… we can start our search today: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE 973-509-2222 EXT. 1126 RealEstate@TheNicholasTeam.com
When you finally find your dream home, the worst thing that can happen is the deal falling through at the last minute. It’s more common than you might think, and the reasons are often surprisingly small. Fortunately, a little attention to detail and thorough planning can save you from the heartbreak of a buy gone bad. Here are some pitfalls for buyers:
- Last-minute shopping sprees. Until your home loan has been funded, big purchases are flat out dangerous to closing the deal. Your credit matters and so does your bank balance. Every time they take a hit (say for new furniture, appliances, or even a big pickup truck for moving day), you risk skewing your financial picture in a foul direction. Lay off the buying until you’re in the clear.
Last winter, we had a buyer who bought three rooms of new furniture two weeks before closing- Bob’s Store was running a sale with 18 months interest free new credit… this purchase delayed the closing by two weeks and required her to put the new furniture she bought for a house she didn’t own yet and had delivered into storage…good thing she had interested free payments!
- Not drilling down deep on seller disclosures. Nobody likes surprises, so ask all the questions you have about condition issues in the home or on the lot. Sellers must disclose, so you’re well within your rights to ask after anything which seems unreasonably unexplained. Finding out late can sour the deal or stick you with costly repairs post-closing. Ask your agent to perform an OPRA Request on the property-its a written request done at town hall asking for a history of permits pulled for any rehab or renovations done to a home. This will also give you reassurance that any work was done correctly, inspected and approved.
- Failing to clarify which “fixtures” are included with the house. Fixture can be one of those words open to interpretation. Get clarity on what is an appliance, what is a part of the home, and what remains the seller’s personal property. An early understanding of what’s excluded will prevent sour feelings later on. If you fall in love with the house based the purple chandelier in the dining room because it reminds you of the one Grandma used to have- make sure its staying. Seller can be asked to replace lighting fixtures but they aren’t always replaced with exact replicas.
- Not securing a preliminary title report ASAP. Great surprises lurk in the title search, so you’ll want to know in advance if there’s anything which might complicate the deal. You never know when someone might have an interest in the property (like an ex-husband), and you can’t be 100% sure about the property boundaries until you’ve defined them, can you? A misplaced fence or disputed driveway can foul things up in a hurry.
- Insurance surprises. Is the home in a flood plain? Will your rates be through the roof for hurricane or earthquake risks? It’s worth investigating early on in the process. You may still decide to buy the home, but you’ll at least be able to budget accordingly. Again, your agent should be able to do a little research to find out about flood plains, but your best bet may be to ask your insurance agent for the most accurate information.
I like to help buyers navigate the home buying process smoothly, armed with all of the knowledge they need in order to find the right home at the right price. Let me guide you to a smooth closing this year!
Barbara & Gregg , THE NICHOLAS TEAM of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE 973-509-2222 ext.1126 RealEstate@TheNicholasTeam.com
Home inspection professionals are trained to spot problems and evaluate a home’s overall condition. While they have a reputation for being ethical and thorough, they are also still human. Sometimes details escape their attention. Its always a good idea to follow the inspector, take notes, ask questions – its a LOT of information to take in…
If you’re making a major investment in a home, there’s no reason you have to leave 100% of the inspection up to someone else. There are definitely areas you can review for yourself visually; it is best to hire a professional- make sure they are licensed and ask for references.
Before you sign off on a house, don’t neglect to review these commonly overlooked areas:
- Roof: Yes, inspectors will consider the roof condition, but they probably won’t be on top of the roof when they do it. This is one area where hiring a roofing contractor to take a look can be a major benefit during negotiations.
- Fences: You might not think there’s much to inspect here, but replacing a fence is expensive. What looks sturdy on a sunny day can turn into a giant repair after the first storm of the season. This is especially true of wooden fences.
- Drains: Fill up tubs and sinks and see how long it takes them to drain. If they’re slow, you’ll want to know why. It could be something as simple as a clog, but what if it’s more?
- Fireplaces: Home inspectors will often give these the once-over, but they sure aren’t going to light a fire. If you can, make sure these operate as expected. It’s also a good idea to find out when the chimney was last cleaned and who the owner uses to maintain it.
- Heating/Cooling: The time of year might impact how thorough an inspector is with the heating and cooling system. After all, who’s likely to really run the A/C in the winter or the heat in the summer? With such a big ticket item, you want to be certain it performs as expected.
Pricing is directly tied to a home’s condition, so don’t overlook the opportunity to protect yourself from repair bills. Problems present you with leverage in negotiations.
Ready to hunt for a home in great shape? Let us help you with your search. There are all kinds of properties available right now: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM firstname.lastname@example.org 973-509-2222 ext.1126
If you’re in the market for a home, you’re probably in the market for a mortgage. With the exception of all-cash buyers, most buyers will find out soon what their FICO score is and what banks think about it.
The FICO score has a huge impact on whether or not lenders consider you an acceptable credit risk, and yet there are more than 53 million Americans out there who don’t have a credit score at all. This doesn’t mean they’re a bad risk, necessarily… it just means they haven’t used credit cards, held a previous mortgage, or had an auto loan. They may be perfectly responsible financial citizens. So how do they apply for a mortgage?
In an attempt to broaden access, FICO has begin to factor new data sources. Announced in April, 2015, FICO will now include two additional sources: A national utility database, presided over by Equifax, and LexisNexis, which relies on public records.
The idea behind the change is this: First, the timeliness of utility payments can be used as month-to-month evidence of financial health. Second, FICO will be looking at LexisNexis address changes to determine how often people have relocated. In theory, frequent moves may be an indication of increased risk.
Though the impulse may be good, the changes are not without some controversy. Some argue the accuracy of the Equifax database may be a concern. It also adds one more credit reporting database which must be monitored. There’s also a worry that the “frequency of move” may unfairly punish people and provide a disincentive for relocations, downsizing, and upsizing of homes, provided FICO only uses the LexisNexis information in a punitive way.
More details are sure to emerge, but one thing is for sure: The era of Big Data in the cloud will be sure to cast their shadow on the way financial institutions assess risk in the years ahead. One hopes that they ultimately let in more sunshine than shade when it comes to helping buyers attain the dream of homeownership.
Are you ready to explore the dream? Contact us today. We’d be happy to help you navigate the home buying or selling journey and help you find a great mortgage lender: The NicholasTeam, Barbara and Gregg you can call out office at: 973-509-2222 or email us at: realestate@TheNicholasTeam.com. Visit our website for more information and to start your home search!