Ten Tips for Buying a Home

April 17th, 2013

Greetings everyone, this article is long overdue! I promised Matt would return after the Ten Tips for Selling Your Home post from last year to discuss the opposite side of a real estate transaction, purchasing a home. Matt is an experienced real estate broker and appraiser and as a bonus, I’ve also included tips from Dino, a long time real estate agent in the Bay Area. Together these guys have almost four decades of experience in representing buyers and sellers in the real estate market so they’re smart, savvy, and full of helpful information. Today they’re sharing ten tips for buying a home:

“In the home purchasing market, being a buyer is different than being a seller. A buyer wants to find the best home for the best price, the seller on the other hand wants the most money for it. Buyers should be prepared for many twists and turns in their quest to purchase a home. Know that there are many different real estate markets and laws across the country, so these tips are meant to be helpful guidelines.

1) Find the Right Agent.  Look for someone with experience in the area, someone who is easy to reach and responds to phone calls or emails, and one you have an easy time talking to about your wants and needs. Ask them how many times they have represented a buyer since it’s a good idea to find an agent who has worked with many buyers. Learn how much experience they have and ask them if they have the time to find you a home. You’d be surprised how some agents are stretched too thin and as a result won’t go the extra mile.

If an agent has ten or more active escrows, that person may not necessarily be right for you. It’s possible they’re more concerned about closing deals and getting commissions and may not have the time to be your best advocate. Most importantly, find an agent who has the time to serve your needs.

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You might also look at agents that work on a team. These days, clients are often better served by having more than one person do it all. Ask whether the agent works with a team of assistants – it doesn’t cost extra, and you may get better attention to your needs. As a buyer, you want to be treated as though you are important, so the one of the most important things to know is how many clients they have at that time and whether they may have colleagues to assist in your search for a home.

2) Learn the Market.  When you getting ready to buy a home, take the time to learn the market on your own. This research can take six months, but if you are in a hurry, it can be done in a few weeks. Ask your agent for every listing in your price range in your neighborhood. Be specific, learn as much as you can about where you want to live and figure out how much you can afford.

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You can also search many of the listings online for free without burdening your agent. Redfin is an excellent site and give its readers access to all the current listings on the market. There are also other sites to review, Zillow, Realtor, Trulia, to name a few. Some of these sites work with agents who will rebate part of their fee if you work directly with them, but expect that you may get what you pay for. An agent hired for a full fee may give greater attention and work harder for their client.

Part of learning the market is seeing many homes and judging their quality, condition, location, size, and amenities. Many factors can play a role in you decision: schools districts, crime rates, appreciation rates, and proximity to services. Learning the market includes viewing as many homes as you can to educate yourself on what styles you prefer, and also to learn about value.

If you trust that your agent knows what you’re looking for, have them preview homes for you, that’s their job. After they see the property, they can contact you right away and schedule a time for you to see the home.

Technology is a huge part of the arsenal of today’s tech-savvy agents. You often see them driving around searching homes using iPads and mobile phones. Now you can easily and efficiently research the home’s facts online and without the paper flyers from the past. Agents who use this technology have access to real-time data and can provide you with the quickest service to help get you the home you want.

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DIY Gifts for Mother’s Day

April 16th, 2013

I miss my mom a lot, she lives on the outskirts of Las Vegas and I don’t get to see my parents as often as I’d like. I like to create something special for Mother’s Day, even if it’s just a semi DIY craft or project. (Last year I made these photo filled memory jars). I went looking for inspiration and rounded up a bunch of great ideas. Enjoy!

Make homemade linen spray, with printable lavender, garden rose, and jasmine labels.

linen spray style me pretty


Upload Instagram images and make a book for a special Mom to treasure.

instagram book


Pair a fresh bouquet with a flower arranging kit.

flower arranging kit


Make an fabric covered mouse pad or a painted version so Mom remembers you each time she sits down at the computer.

iron on and painted mouse pad


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