Buy the House you need- Not the One of your Dreams


he house you Need and the one you Dream of are not always synonymous. But hopefully the home you need can also fulfill some of your dreams.

Case in point, from personal experience, the parameters of our last home purchases was based mostly on need. The last two houses we bought were for ease of living and didn’t really fulfill that many of our dreams. While both houses were nice, we knew we needed something that would allow us (me) the ease of getting around, knowing that I was looking at knee replacements in the near future. The first home, which we lived in for exactly 2 years , because we ended up moving out of town, was made to be ours with some painting, upgraded counters, and new lights. The second house, in which we currently reside, was brand new with some upgrades such as hardwood floors, a tile shower, and backsplash. The colors are not what we would have chosen, and we prefer solid surface counters but we will make do. Most importantly, our home allows for single floor living, has only a 2 step entry, wider hallways, and a walk-in shower.

What did we give up by having our needs met versus our dreams? In reality, not a lot. We still have a nice home although we would prefer one with more character. High on our dream list was a sunroom, which didn’t come with the house but we added, much to our delight.  We can create character if we choose but most importantly, we have a roof over our heads and it is easy to get around the house. It meets our needs.

Although as a Realtor, it is my job to make your dreams come true, I work hard to keep your feet firmly planted so your needs are fulfilled and dreams can follow. You want to buy a home for today and the tomorrows’ that follow. As in my case, if we followed our hearts, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate around my home following my recent knee replacement.

A young mother recently asked if she should buy the home she wants today or the one that will accommodate the children she plans on having in the next few years. It really depends on what she can afford today. If she can afford the home of the future,I’d say do it because with rising interest rates and home prices, it will cost more in the future. Generally, people only live in a home for 5-7 years. Today, Buyers are looking farther down the road. We commonly hear, “We want to buy our forever home.” If that is the case for you, than think about what your needs will be in the future and whether the house fulfills them or can easily be adapted later. We really need a roof over our heads to keep us warm and dry. Although the house may not be the home of your current dreams, when it is filled with love, family, and friends, your needs and dreams may become synonymous.


Patience-A Virtue Home Buyers Need to Acquire


The old adage, buying a home isn’t for the faint of heart, still holds true. No matter how much you prepare, make your lists, and visit neighborhoods, you still need to wait for the right home to come on the market. Even then, it may not become yours.

The inventory of homes for sale remains low with the number of potential Buyers high. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a house. Most importantly, you need to be prepared to make a strong offer when you do find the home for you and your family.  Many sellers won’t even entertain an offer without a pre-approval letter, so meet with a local lender and have your letter in hand. It makes for a much stronger offer.

Be flexible. Flexibility also makes for a stronger offer. Asking the Seller when the best time for them to close and move might make your offer more attractive to them. Also, if you are looking for the typical 3 bedroom 2 bath home in a highly sought after neighborhood, change your search a bit. You might want to open yourself up to a home that needs a bit of renovation or is in a neighborhood that is up and coming. Expanding your horizons opens up new opportunities.

Lastly, be patient. Keep at it. It takes time to find your perfect home so don’t get discouraged.  If you lose out on a home or two, it wasn’t meant to be. Speaking from personal experience, usually you end up with a better home than the ones you lost bids on. Be patient. It will happen!


My Lease is Up…When Should I Start Looking for a House?

My Lease is Up....When Should I Start Looking for a House_

My Lease is up…, When should I start looking for a house? We get this question all the time.  Buying a house isn’t like going to the store a to buy a new shirt. It takes time and planning. And not all of it is in your control.

If you know your credit score and it is at least over 580 your home buying activities should start 3-4 months before your lease terminates. If you have a less than stellar credit score or are unsure of it, start sooner. Your first step is to visit a reputable mortgage lender or broker. Stay away from the online only companies. Let the lender pull your credit score. They actually receive more in-depth information than we do with FreeCreditReport.com.  If your credit score falls into the lower than necessary range, a good lender will work with you to take steps to raise it. A lower credit score will cost you more in interest rates, pre-paids, home insurance, and car insurance. A little hint, if you do not have much credit, open up a credit card. You don’t have to use it much. Just make sure it is paid off and by all means, DO NOT CLOSE ANY CREDIT ACCOUNTS! It will lower your score.

Assuming you have a decent credit score, get a pre- approval letter from a bank or mortgage lender. Now your search begins. Given the low inventory of homes on the market in our area, your search could take more than a month or two. Once you find the home that fits your needs, you still need 45-60 days until move in.

The offer needs to be accepted and that can go back and forth a few times. Then as a Buyer, you arrange a home inspection within 14 – 21 days. Depending on the results, that may take a bit of time to come to terms with the Seller. Your lender will be working on the load approval and order an appraisal. The appraisal could take 40-45 days depending on how busy the market is at the time of your offer. Once the appraisal comes in, hopefully at the purchase price, the loan will need another week or so to be finalized. Then the closing may be scheduled.

As a renter, you may have some leeway as to your moving date as when the loan closes you don’t pay the first month’s mortgage. But all of that depends on your lease agreement. Remember to give your landlord enough notice of your moving out.

Bottom line, the home buying process takes 45-60 days and that depends on how quickly you can find a home.