Common Misconceptions of First Time Home Buyers

Daunting, overwhelming and terrifying. Exciting, thrilling and blood-tingling! That’s exactly what home buying can feel like for a first time home buyer. It can be a roller coaster of emotions throughout the process of purchasing or even thinking to purchase. I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt to live and tell the tale. I’ve also help a LOT of first time home buyers in this process as well and I have heard all the questions and misconceptions of home buying. One thing I always try to emphasize to my buyers is that no questions is stupid. Not one!

As always, I want to be a resource for my sweet first time home buyers, but I also think it’s important for anyone thinking about buying to know what is even possible!  I’ve pulled together common misconceptions that first time home buyers to help you or even a close friend or family member to see what’s possible with first time buyers.

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Common Misconceptions for First Time Home Buyers

I can’t afford to buy a house!

You don’t know that yet! This is why it’s great to meet with a mortgage loan officer or your local bank to explore ALL options. You may actually be ready or they can help create a timeline and program to get you on track whether it’s increasing cash flow/assets or building credit.

I’ll save more money if I rent. 

Want to hear something W I L D? ! A lot of first time homebuyers end up having mortgages that are LESS than what their rent was costing them. Crazy! While you’re thinking you save on repairs and upkeep on the home, you’re still toward someone else home and not you own. Why not pay toward your own dream? I need to have a 20% in cash for a downpayment! 

No one is asking you to liquidate all your cash monayyy! There are so many great loan programs like FHA and USDA loans that require very little (like 3.5% down) or zero down if you’re in a rural area. FHA loans are fantastic for first time home buyers and great lenders can also find grants to help assist in closing costs.

If you’re in the military or a veteran, you can also look into VA loans where they will take 0 down. There are programs for E V E R Y O N E!

I need to have perfect credit! 

Your credit needs to be good, yes. But it doesn’t have to be PERFECT! While credit scores can effect your interest rate, there are many ways that lenders can find the right loan program or ways to build up your credit quickly to prepare you to purchase YOUR own home.

I need to have a job for 2 years before I can buy a home! 

Not going to lie, I always thought this as well. While this does pertain for self-employed people to show a complete history, salaried people have a different set of rules. Sometimes all you need is a letter from your workplace with your salary and some pay stubs.

I can’t afford repairs. 

Ever heard of a home warranty? I try to always get my buyers a home warranty that covers repairs on AC units and other appliances in their home. While home warranties don’t cover everything, they do help pay toward some larger expenses. All you have to do with a home warranty with pay an upfront fee that could range from $60-75 per visit from contractor sent to repair items. These home warranties can basically pay for themselves over time.

I don’t bring in enough money. 

You don’t have to be raking in the dough to buy a home, you just need to be consistently making money! You Realtor and lender will help guide you on budgeting and staying within your limits on what you can afford, but never assume what you cannot do.

I need to find the home before I get approved for a loan. 

WRONG!!! I typically won’t even show a client a home until they’re approved for their loan. Here’s why: I hate to take a client into a home, they fall in love and then come to find out… they can’t get approved for a loan to purchase the property. That’s a bummer and then the buyer is stuck on that one home and it really sours the rest of the house hunting experience. Getting with a Realtor first is a great game plan and we can then guide you to the right lender for what you’re needing. After you get all your ducks in a row with the lender, it is then time to find the home!

I need to purchase a price at the high end of what I am approved for.

Not quite. You need to purchase a property that keeps you living within your means! This is why it’s important to start the home buying process with a budget in mind – you need to know what you can afford in a mortgage and utility payments. Just because you’re told you’re approved for a $400,000 loan, it doesn’t mean you have to go near there. No one wants to be house poor.


Buying a home has enough what ifs, so don’t let all of these misconceptions scare you away from pushing toward your dream of home ownership. As always, a handy perfect Realtor like me is a great FIRST STEP in the home buying process. I help guide you on all of the next steps and how we make YOU a HOME OWNER!

2019 Best of Black Friday Sales: Homeowner Edition

Today is a day to give thanks and gratitude! It’s also a day when people go CRAZAYYY for some deals and steals on what we all call Black Friday. Here’s the honest truth, I’ve never been a Black Friday shopper. Rushing to grab an item and the thrill of the shopping just never appealed to me, but now it does. Being a new homeowner means I need to fill up my home with lots of goodies like TVs, vacuums and lots of cooking utensils and appliances. So you can say that this year, I’m going to be a part of the Black Friday craziness!

There are a lot of great posts with overviews on Black Friday shopping, but I’m narrowing this down with the homeowner in mind. Whether you’ve recently bought a home, have been a homeowner for a minute or are just thinking about purchasing a home, these are ALL good finds!

|| WALMART ||

  • iRobot Vaccum – It’s under $200!! This is my number one buy!
  • Instant Pot – B E S T   F I N D!! It’s $49 and you better grab it before it’s gone because it doesn’t get much lower than that!
  • Samsung Smart TVs (up to $50 in savings) – I’ll be purchasing the 50″ Smart TV to put in my home – it’s only $277!
  • TV Mount – Not your typical Black Friday find, but gotta save where you can!
  • Arlo Security Cameras– Saving $70 on a three camera system. My parents LOVE their Arlos and can pull up the system from an app on their phone with email alerts.
  • Keurig – Another low price at $40 and perfect for you coffee lovers!

 

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Walmart’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 6PM in stores.


|| SAM’S CLUB ||

  • Bamboo Pillows – Save $4 on already low priced pillow sets! They’re only $10.
  • Gas Fire Table – Great for backyard to keep you warm in the winter and $50 in savings.
  • Serta Mattress – Savings of up to $100 on Full/Queen Mattress or savings of up to $200 for King/California King.
  • Ninja Blender and Cups – Great blender for under $100.

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Sam’s Club Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 7AM in stores and last through December 1.


||TARGET||

  • Google Home Mini – Only $19, so that a $30 SAVING! 
  • Amazon Echo – You’re getting about 40% in savings on this bad boy.
  • Serta Air Mattress – These are just good to have for extra guests… always! Only $50.
  • 12 LB Weighted Blanket – This just sounds amazing and I’ve had my eye on it for a minute! Love the ivory choice.
  • Nest Thermostat– ON MY LIST!! These never go on sale and I love that I can control the AC from my cell phone!
  • Rubbermaid Storage Containers – We all could use more storage containers and these are the best. They’re $7.99 Y’ALL!

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Target’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 7AM Friday. 


|| BEST BUY||

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Best Buy’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at 1AM on Friday and reopen at 8AM Friday. 


|| BED, BATH & BEYOND||

Big deal of the day is 25% OFF in-store all day!

I’ll probably be buying some sheets and bathroom necessities like mats and more with that discount!

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Bed, Bath & Beyond’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM in stores and doors close at Midnight. 


|| AMAZON||

  • Amazon Smart Plug – $4.99 bundled with purchases. I try to buy these overtime I see them $20 off. Great for Christmas trees, lamps or outdoor lights!
  • Echo Dot – Drops down to $22 for Black Friday. Love listening to my podcasts and making notes on my phone while I get ready with mine!
  • Schlage Smart Deadbolt– Big fan of this at my parent’s AirBNB! You can control it with your phone AND it’s compatible with Alexa.
  • Fire TV Stick – Great to take along with you when traveling and easy to hook up to TVs.
  • Ring Peephole Cam with Echo Show 5– New product that pairs perfectly with Ring Doorbell. Super cool!

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Happy shopping to you! Let me know what you’re buying this Black Friday! 

Progress Is…. Progress!

I’m going to say the understatement of the year and it’s that my family has been just a littttttle busy this fall! From having the most beautiful Yamboree Queen (my little sister) at our hometown festival and then running all over for events with our Hereford Association to Fighting Texas Aggie football games, my weekends that are typically my open time to work on my home have been BOOKED! 

Since the last time you had an opportunity to look at my little Dollhouse, it was just vacant and ready for DEMO!! Now we’ve completely gutted the place, changed my ideas here and there and have gotten moving with lots of different things! It was so fun to tear down all the fabric wallpaper and old walls to find all of the wood planks hidden behind. I know a TON of people would leave those wood planks raw and show them to the world but they’re just too wide for my taste and I promise the end result with be worth it! Ya girl over here needs her home to have some insulation and that has to go behind those planks.

So what have we done since the gut job? Here’s a little lowdown:

Foundation: When I bought this cutie of a home I knew that it wasn’t the most level space so getting my pier and beam foundation leveled was priority numero uno before I had any big work done. Luckily, this was an easy fix and Benchmark Foundation came in while I was booked during Yamboree to get it DONE! 

Carpentry: A little carpentry work has made its way in. After the wall between the kitchen and dining was destroyed we waited for the carpenters to come in to install a beam between those rooms and frame up my master closet and the refrigerator area. It was my lucky day when they came because I didn’t need a beam so now it feels like one OPEN space!! The carpenters still came in, though, to frame up room in my closet, close in one of my FIVE exterior doors that was in my master bedroom and more.

Plumbing: Plumbers came in and replaced cast iron and have moved my lines for my refrigerator  (was in where the original kitchen wall was and is now on a separate wall) and washer/dryer combo (was in the kitchen and is now in my master closet). They’ve also been busy, busy taking out all o the cast iron plumbing and replacing it throughout my kitchen and bathroom area.

Electricity: My electrician’s crew is in the works on putting some updates throughout my home – I am very lucky and a majority of the electrical work was updated before I moved in which is not typical for most 1930s homes… that’s what I thought. They actually had to come in and replace just about everything due to it not being correct with different sized wires. People – this is why you do it right from the beginning and hire the professionals! Since it is an older home, I’m also moving around some light switches (they’re in the oddest places) and plugs throughout the home. Most of the plugs are in my baseboards and we are replacing all of those, so the plugs are being pushed up a little and some will even have the USB capability.

Cabinetry: With what seems like it’s been an eternity, we have FINALIZED my cabinetry. I mean I knew I was picky, but WOW! Since I’m working with such a small space, I wanted to ensure I was utilizing every space I could with the cabinetry I am putting in my kitchen. After quite a bit of back and forth we are done and it will be built in the next 2-3 weeks. I’ve realized that what I thought was necessary in cabinetry sometimes isn’t, but I’m still getting room for my wine fridge and trash compartment because those are the little things that make me happy!

Insulation: Once the electrical was complete, insulation was inserted between the wooden boards and brick on all the the exterior walls and throughout my attic area. This will ensure I am warm in the winter and cool in the summers and is SO WORTH IT to get done while I’m down with the bare bones of the house.

Drywall: After insulation was put in, my drywall came in and now I have walls!! It was such an odd experience to walk in the house from being used to the wooden walls to having actual walls and seeing my vision of the home come to life. Big fan!!

A lot has already been completed, but here’s whats next on my list for December: 

  • Tape, bed and texture: I’ll have some guys come in to tape, bed and texture the walls in the home. Once this is complete, it will be paint time!
  • Base boards: The carpenter will add in my new baseboard (trying to keep the original sizes).
  • Paint: Planning to paint the interior of the home with a light gray on the walls and white on all of my trim and the exterior of the home white.
  • Cabinetry: Installation of cabinetry for my kitchen, pantry and bathroom will be put into place. They will then be painted a super fun and funky green color. I promise it’s going to look GREAT!
  • Refinishing hardwoods: My original hardwoods are BEAUTIFUL and I could not be more excited to have them in my home. Unfortunately, they’re all a semi-different color in each room so we plan to refinish those as well to make it uniform. I mean – might as well while we’re working on it!

Hope you’re enjoying following along! A lot of work has been done but there’s still more to come!

An Insider’s Look at Being A First Time Home Buyer

Being a first time home buyer is stressful, overwhelming, exciting, emotional and about a million other things bundled together! It can be a simple process or difficult depending on what type of shopper you are, REALTOR you have and lender you’re working with. Being a REALTOR, I’ve been through this process many a times but it’s a little different when looking for your own home.

I’ve never minded picky buyers that wanted to see a little bit of everything to help them make up their minds because… hey, ya never know! With me and my thought process though, I was all over the place. It’s tough because I help people all the time and I go from luxury home to smaller townhouses to everything in between. I mean I went from wanting one specific location to wanting older homes to think well the market is so hot and things are moving so quickly that maybe I should just build a home. Talk about hot mess express! With my Dad in tow, I had us all over town looking at polar opposite homes not knowing quite what I was feeling and vibing yet. I even told my dad that I would have fired myself as a client as a REALTOR. I was wearing myself OUT!

One day when I was fed up with my own crazy process, I decided to make a drive down the neighborhood I grew up in and low and behold there was a sign in front of the CUTEST 1930s Dollhouse. I mean I was in love! I got in the house before the house hit the market, made an offer and got it accepted! This home was about as far from everything I thought I wanted but it just felt right! My Dad kept telling me that when I walk in a home it’ll just hit me and I’ll know it’s the one and it did! It makes me think of the show Say Yes to the Dress and how the bride has that good feeling when she finds the ONE! Now I get it when I tell my clients the same thing!

The process after finding the home was pretty straight forward… get all paperwork to my lender, choose an insurance agent, schedule my inspection and start working with the title company. With a clear to close in 21 days thanks to my amazing lender Jordan Johnson with GUILD Mortgage, we were moving and grooving! I could have gone with a local bank or offered different types of loans but I really wanted to go through the whole mortgage process with the lender since I always refer them to my clients. It was easy breezy but only because I did my homework like your REALTOR typically tells you to – have all tax documents, bank statements and sign/review items as SOON as the lender sent it because time is of the essence. I was also patient – I waited two year to have two tax returns because I’m self-employed and really pulled numbers together to see what type of monthly payment made the most sense for me. I’m self-employed and commission-based so it’s difficult to sit down and think of what I make each month when it ebbs and flows. Really makes ya think!

The week of closing was exciting and a little stressful because you’ve got to remember to get those utilities switched over – some can’t be switched over like water and sewer until you close. Final walkthroughs ensue as you make sure the home wasn’t left in shambles and you’re ready to take it over and then I mean it’s time to sign your name away to 30 years on a mortgage! The to-do lists start piling and honestly I don’t think they really stop after – but HEY that’s okay!

Closing day a fun one, though! Now I’ve gone to quite a few closings with clients, but I legit think I lost my head that day – literally a REALTOR’s worst nightmare. I may or may not have LEFT, yes I said left my wallet in my workout bag and showed up to my closing without my driver’s license. Here I am the REALTOR that always reminds her clients to bring their cashier’s check and driver’s license and I don’t even have mine! Odd enough, though, I had my passport in my work bag (because I guess I’m just ready to jet off just in case?) and that thankfully works as an ID. Do as I say, not as I do sometimes, people!

Im thankful, though, to have the sweetest group of ladies at Central Title Company in Longview that made closing day so special and fun and acted like it was their own closing day! They all gave me big hugs, champagne and took all the stress away!

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My amazing Central Title Ladies – Shannon, Lindsay and Christina! 

 

My Dad and mortgage lender were there in tow to make sure everything went smoothly (sweet momma was there in spirit as she was at work). I cut a big ole hefty check and then I was CLOSED on my first home!

I have to admit, it’s kind of fun and empowering buying a home on your own. Not that it officially made me feel like an adult but it’s something I have on my own and in MY name! There’s a lot of work that goes toward being a home owner – saving money, building credit and on and on – and it makes you feel excited and proud to make this new property your home! 

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In front of my little 1930s Dollhouse on Closing Day! 

I’m so appreciative of EVERYONE that helped me become a home owner from my super supportive parents to my encouraging friends that built me up when I was ready to give up to my sweet sisters that are already decorating their rooms in their heads. I won’t be moving in immediately because this 1930s Dollhouse is getting a facelift, but get ready because you can follow along with the whole process on my Instagram and some upcoming blog posts!

Here’s what I learned from being a First Time Home Buyer:

  • Patience, young grasshopper. Don’t rush it and you’ll know when it’s the right house. Looks at all areas and do drive-bys to ensure you like the location before dragging your REALTOR out there, like seriously just check it out.
  • Pull yourself together! Seriously, get it together! Check that credit score, shop for lenders and insurance agents and know your budget and what you want that monthly payment to be close to. You may need to wait another year to buy and that’s okay!
  • Listen carefully. Everyone is going to share their two cents with you and that’s family, friends, colleagues, your teller at the bank and everyone in between. Remember that they ALL want what’s best for you and are on your team – remember that! BUT, this is YOUR home so do what is going to bring you happiness at the end of the day because you’re coming home to this and they may visit once or twice.
  • Celebrate the little things. Did your offer get accepted? Inspection went well? Just feeling excited that you found a home?! Celebrate that! Go out or cheers to yourself at home. This is a big step and you should be SO PROUD of that so acknowledge this accomplishment and moment in your life! BE EXCITED and don’t downgrade such a big thing!

Thanks for listening in and I truly hope this helps! I enjoyed the process and know that it all led me to my cute little dollhouse! There’s a process and gut feeling and you have to trust it!

5 Apps for the Home Buyer

Yes it’s true, we are GLUED to our cell phones. From Facebook to podcasts, we use our phone to keep up with friends and expand our knowledge. Being a millennial myself, I love the tools and resources that apps bring to my phone. When I look at the tools that  app provide, it’s not just calendar reminders and social media, there are also a lot of great tools to help with home buying. Pretty handy, right?

While there are plenty of house hunting apps like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia, you don’t want to overlook all of the other useful apps that help out homebuyers. I’m sharing my top five apps that help home buyers during their purchasing process.

5 APPS FOR THE HOME BUYER

  • Mortgage Calculator Plus: A quick and simple way to calculate your potential monthly payments for a home. It gives you the opportunity to plug in the customized purchase price of home, downpayment, insurance costs and even potential HOA fees. Is this the MOST accurate? No! That’s what your mortgage lender is there for, but it can get you pretty close.
  • Mint: Get your finances in check! I love, love, LOVE this app. It let’s me have all of my checking and savings accounts, cards and even 401K savings in ONE SPOT. This one provides a great overview of finances and the app even tracks monthly/weekly spending and normal spending behavior and alerts you when you’ve gone a little crazy on that shopping spree last week (HA!).
  • DocuSign: Talk about a handy app! You can easily sign documents on the go for contracts or amendments for your agent or lender. It’s a quick click of a button and the document is SIGNED without needing to open up a computer. You can’t finish the document until you’ve signed everything that your agent or lender asked you to.
  • Houzz: Design your home right from the phone. Open floor plan stressing you out? This app is for you! Love, love Houzz because it helps you get a better idea of where to place different pieces of furniture. Super useful and perfect for the visual person.
  • Evernote: This is not only helpful for you but for your agent! You’re likely going to look at quite a few homes and they’re all going to start blending together. You think it won’t happen, but it does! This app if fantastic for keep your pros and cons for each home and organizing it by property address. You can then simply send it on to your agent and review at your leisure.

There are plenty of other apps that people find useful in the home buying process, but these are some that you may not have thought about downloading. Hope this helps make the home buying process a little less stressful. Happy hunting!

Home Buyers in a Hot Market

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of a HOT, HOT, HOT real estate market? Real estate agents and sellers are certainly not mad at how quickly homes are moving, but being a home buyer in this situation is just a little frustrating to say the least. I say this from experience because I’m currently a home buyer that’s growing increasingly impatient in a market like this.

Homes are hitting the market and hours later they have a contract or you enter into a bidding war and while it can be exciting, not everyone wins. This is just a little frustrating and a little discouraging for some buyers. When you’re a home buyer in a hot market, it’s important to remember a couple of tips:

  • Don’t settle. Well, duh! This is an important reminder, though. When there’s only so much inventory to choose from, buyers tend to get a little too excited and settle on a property that they don’t truly love. I recommend my buyers really take a step back, look at their need/want list and ensure in their gut that this is THE HOME for them before signing their name on that dotted line.
  • Be decisive. When you’ve gotten to the point of house hunting, you should have already been pre-approved by a lender or bank and have a general idea of what you want. I think it helps to look a couple of homes to guide what you like and dislike, but when homes are moving as quickly as they are in a hot market you have to remember that time is of the essence. So basically, know what you want!
  • Do your homework. Drive by homes, know the neighborhoods you desire and know what is NON-NEGOTIABLE when buying a home. Doing drive-bys and research beyond what your agent provides you with can really eliminate a lot of running around!
  • Stay patient. Inventory may be low or you may have a very specific need when it comes to finding a home. Good things come with time and you need to keep your eyes wide open and know that something will come along, it just may not be in the next 24 hours, 2 days or even month.
  • Help your agent. I am constantly watching the market and sending my clients homes that are hand picked specifically for them with regards to school districts, bedrooms, acreage and more. When your agent is contacting you or sending you emails, let them know if they’re hitting the mark or not getting anywhere near what you’re wanting in a home. They can’t help you if you don’t help them. And that’s a fact, Jack!

As an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), I can hone in my skills to represent the needs of my home buyers from the comprehensive knowledge I’ve received from real estate education. Each and every home buyer is different and it’s important that you as a buyer are treated that way. I want all of my buyers to know that this process is for THEM and only them because it’s their money and their home. When the housing market is hot, people tend to throw all reason out the window and it’s important to stay grounded and ensure that the home you’re buying is what you know in your gut is the right home for you and your future. After all, this is an INVESTMENT! 

Enjoy the house hunting and don’t let the stressor of a hot market get the best of you! Happy hunting!

Upfront Costs in Purchasing a Home

Money, money, money! When you first start the home buying process, a big concern can be the money and cashflow that you’ll need to pay upfront once you have an accepted contract. Payments can start adding up, so I always try to make sure that my buyers are aware of what checks they’ll be cutting from the beginning once their contract is accepted.

While closing costs are a big concern to buyers, those don’t really come to fruition until closing day (end of the deal). When it comes to upfront costs, you’re top costs will include your Option Period Fee, Earnest Money and paying for your Inspection. I’ve pulled the ranges and explanations for each below.

UPFRONT COSTS IN PURCHASING A HOME

Termination Option Fee: Typically ~$100

Your Termination Option OR Option Period is typically a time frame of 7-10 days where you complete your inspections, come in and get quotes/estimates on any repairs you’re needing and ensure that you’re ready to move forward on purchasing the home. This period starts the next day after the contract is executed.

The Termination Option Fee protects your Earnest Money so that if you back out of the contract within your 7 to 10 day period due to the seller not agreeing to repair certain items or the home not being quite up to par, you would get your Earnest Money back. After the 7 to 10 day Termination Option Period, your property will go UNDER CONTRACT.

This fee is written out the seller of the home as they’re giving you this time frame to complete any inspections, etc. You do not have to complete an inspection or have a Termination Option Period, but it is always recommended.  Your Termination Option Fee CAN BE credited to your closing and negotiated on price point and day period.

Earnest Money: 1% of home purchase price

Typically, your Earnest Money is 1% of the overall price of the home. For example, if you purchase a home for $200,000 then your Earnest Money check will be $2,000. That is 1% of the purchase price. Is the 1% fee negotiable? Yes! But the Earnest Money is seen as good faith that you’re ready to rock and roll as a buyer so most buyers and sellers stick to using the traditional 1% number. If you’re in a bidding war, you may put down more in Earnest Money. It all depends on the buyer and the seller.

This fee is written out to the title company that is handling this transaction. Your Earnest Money IS credited at closing to your costs and can be negotiated.

Inspection Fee:  Truly varies on square footage of home/company – ~$360-$600

Is this a required fee? Not necessarily, but some lenders do require an inspection and I ALWAYS recommend my buyers order one so that they know the ins and outs of the home from a licensed professional. The fee ranges by the company you use and the square footage of the home. The bigger the home, the higher the cost. In my opinion, this cost is WORTH IT! 

This fee is paid directly to the inspector or inspection company. This IS NOT credited to your closing and if you back out of the contract you will not receive a refund for the fee. Inspections are there to give you piece of mind and know what’s going on from plumbing to foundation to electricity. It’s beneficial on ALL fronts!

 

While there are some other upfront costs in purchasing a home, these are the main costs after you receive and accepted offer on a property. These are all fee to expect and later on pull money for your downpayment, lender (appraisal, etc.) and closing costs. This is used to help guide you at the very beginning stages after a contract is accepted.

Preparing Your Home During The Stormy Season

April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, right? But all we feel like we’re getting are scary tornado watch calls from Mark Scirto from our local news station.

WINDOWLESS INTERIOR

In the grand scheme of things, you truly need to worry about finding a small, windowless interior room in the home. Duh! But we also need to think about how you can protect your home during this stormy weather from hail damage and more. Here are a couple of things you can do to protect and prep your home.

Untitled Design

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

Trim those trees. Look at the limbs close to your roof, where you park your vehicle or near any lines. While I always recommend hiring a professional, if it looks like a smaller job these tree trimmers can help lighten the load and stress. This can help prevent much larger issues after storms.

Cover or move your outdoor items. Do an inventory of your outdoor items like patio furniture, planters, firewood, grills, etc. Either cover those items or bring  them inside to a garage or shop area. You can use patio furniture covers, grill covers and more to protect your outdoor favorites. Securing them to the ground is also very helpful.

Check those gutters and downspouts. Ensure that they’re not logged with leaves or full of miscellaneous items by using gutter cleaners. Clear them out to prepare for proper flow of water during the storms.

Follow local news. Be informed. Pay attention to the weather either on your local weather radars, sign up for texts, calls or email alerts from your local weather station to be in the know on upcoming weather.

Inspect your roof. Hail storms and high winds are not your roof’s best friend. Keep an eye on the condition of your roof and if you see any significant damage, be sure to get in touch with your insurance adjustor to see what they can help cover repair costs.

Do you have an emergency kit? Grab the basics: first aid kit (bandaids, ointments, etc.), food (water and non-perishable snacks – put in those granola bars), flashlight with extra batteries, radio and fully charged phones or portable chargers. Have those ready just in case. 

Lastly…

FIND THAT SAFE ROOM! Be prepared and have a cleared and clean windowless, interior room or area identified for storms.  Stay safe!

Stay safe out there, my friends.

Home Buyers: Here’s Why I’m YOUR Expert!

Buying a home is one of the biggest and likely most $$EXPENSIVE$$ purchases you will make in your life. As a REALTOR®, I do NOT take that lightly and want to ensure that I can represent my clients in the best way possible by being knowledgable and experienced. To ensure that I can be YOUR home buying expert, I completed a designation course to become an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®). In order to become an ABR®, a REALTOR® must complete training that is specialized in understanding a home buyer’s perspective and promoting and protecting the buyer’s interest. 

While through experience and time as a REALTOR® you learn the ins and outs of representing a home buyer, this ABR® designation teaches you so much more. I joined a network of ABR® designees across the nation and we worked in groups on scenarios and how to better help our home buyers. I also took an additional course on New Home Construction to help assist my buyers that are looking to possibly build instead of buy and learned building process from beginning to end. I am here to help my buyers make informed decisions! 

So what can I do for you as an ABR®? I can assist you…

  • With needs and wants, and locate properties appropriate for buyer’s specifications
  • Help determine budget (pre-qualify)
  • Accompany in showing properties
  • Assisting in creating offer
  • Negotiation strategy for home buying
  • Vendor referrals (inspector, lenders, etc.)
  • Buying process from beginning to end in transaction – to closing and after!

All buyer’s representatives are NOT EQUAL! With my knowledge as an experience agent and as an agent that has earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation, I have made the extra effort to raise the bar with additional training and education. I am confident that you’ll receive the HIGHEST level of buyer representation because I have taken the time to expand my knowledge in real estate and the home buying process.

If you’re  interested in buying a home, I would LOVE to help guide you in the process. Feel free to email me at bethanybreannenolan@gmail.com or call at (903) 738-8858.

Closing Costs: Here’s Your Breakdown

Home buying… it can be fun, it can be stressful and it can be overwhelming! There are so many steps and processes and costs involved in the process, and as a Realtor it is my job to have answers to all of my client’s questions and concerns. While I always get asked about negotiations, inspections and more, one of the main questions I receive from my buyers is…

“What will my closing costs look like…?”

Honestly, it’s important to have a nice breakdown to show where all of your money is going and possible costs that seem hidden to the first time home buyer. This is likely BIGGEST purchase a person will make during their life, so people need to know what it’s going to cost and where their money is going. It can get complicated on whether the buyer or seller is paying for certain portions of closing costs, but that’s where your handy-dandy Realtor swoops in to guide you in the negotiating process!

So first of all… what are closing costs? Closing costs are fees associated with the purchase of your property/home that are paid at the closing of your real estate transaction. A closing is when the title of the property purchased is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Closing costs are incurred by either the seller or the buyer, these CAN be negotiated.

Now that we understand the high level description of closings costs, let’s break it down. While there is a rather large list of items that can go into closings costs, what I’m going to do is break down the biggest costs first and dwindle it down to other associated costs.

CLOSING COSTS

Title Company Fees (Cost Ranges Follow the Descriptions)

  • Appraisal: Paid to appraisal company to ensure fair market value of purchased home. Cost: Ranges are ~$500. 
  • Flood Certification: Pulled by third-party, determines if property is located in a flood zone. Cost: Ranges close to $10-$15. 
  • Postage or Courier Fees: Cost for transfer of documents. Cost: Ranges close to $40.
  • Recording Fee: Recording of public land records. Cost: Typically around $130-$150.
  • Settlement Fees: The title company is paid for handling the closing. Cost: Ranges from $200-$300.
  • Survey: Goes to a survey company to verify property lines. This is not always necessary as some sellers already have a survey on file. Cost: Ranges around $650 for a normal lot.
  • Tax Services: This includes transfer taxes, property taxes that will either be prorated or handled at the closing table. Cost: Ranges close to $100. 
  • Title Search: The title company is paid for their search of the property’s records. They check on the deed of the home and ensure there are no liens, etc.

Lender Fees (These fees vary, so depend on lender for guidance with your situation)

  • Credit Report: Pulled by lender, grabs credit history for loan approval.
  • Homeowner’s Insurance: You’re typically paying your first year of insurance at closing. Simple as it sounds, it’s insurance and covers any potential damages to the home.
  • Origination Fee: Covers lender’s research and administrative costs. Typically 1 percent of loan.  
  • Owner’s Title Insurance Fees: Can be optional, but protects you in the event that there are challenges to the ownership of your home.
  • Underwriting and Processing Fee: Goes to lender and pulls history/researches buyer for loan approval.

A great estimate that I like to give my buyers on their potential closing costs would be to vary it from 2 to 4 percent of the overall purchase price of the property. So if you’re purchase a $200,000 home, you can think ~$8,000 on the very high end and ~$4,000 on the low end. I find it better to give my clients an estimate that near a number than nothing at all. It gives my buyers and sellers a little piece of mind.