Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
From Big Sky, Montana, to Kissimmee, Florida, many Americans crave vacation homes. One feature of a vacation house is that it's typically located as far from home as possible, preferably in another temperature zone, landscape, or climate. The worst part about a vacation home? Finding time away from work to fly out to your choice destination to find a home to call your own. There is an answer, however, and more and more home buyers are giving it a go: It's called remote home buying. We've come up with four solid reasons why you might want to buy your next vacation home remotely:
Location Is No Obstacle
Because you're not investing money in plane tickets or hours flying back and forth between multiple cities, the location of your vacation home isn't limited by time or finances. The world is, quite literally, an option. Odds are excellent that there's a qualified real estate agent available in or nearby the town you're considering. Once you make that connection, your agent will handle the legwork and the heavy lifting.
You Have Nothing But Time
Because you're not taking time away from your responsibilities at home, there's no need to rush into a decision. Every vacation home your agent recommends can be viewed online or viewed real-time via an app such as Skype. You're free to consider multiple options in the search for your perfect vacation home without investing days or weeks away.
The Price Is Right
Buying a vacation home in another state or even in another country can save you tons of money. States such as Texas, where land and homes are abundant, offer terrific deals on real estate. You'll score a vacation home here for much, much less than you would near a city such as Washington, D.C. Property taxes are another reason to consider purchasing a vacation home in another area. You might be surprised to learn that the beautiful islands of Hawaii actually offer the lowest property taxes in America.
The Process Is Easy-Peasy
It's easier to purchase a vacation home remotely than you may realize. Most of the work happens on the other end of the transaction. You don't even have to present for inspections or closing unless you choose to be. Your agent will handle all the nuances of your property purchase. All you have to do is sign documents and wire money.
When you're ready to invest in a new vacation home, consider buying it remotely. You're going to love the ease and convenience of this long-distance transaction.
Home décor and styles change all the time. One of the main things to remember before getting ready to completely remodel is choosing the right contractor. Although there are many contractors in the area, making sure they are able to do the job correctly makes all the difference. What are some things you should be looking for?
Getting input from friends and family, or a reputable association of contractors can help you create a list of contractors that could handle your project.
Once you have your list, it’s time to interview those contractors. Ask the following questions: Can you handle a project of this magnitude? Do you have samples of your work? Can I speak to previous clients? Do you use subcontractors? Are you licensed? Do you have insurance? This step can help you narrow the list even further and decide who you want to meet in person.
- Meet the contractors
Once you’ve established who made the cut, it’s time to have a face-to-face meeting. It’s during this meeting where you will determine whether they are a good fit. They should be able to answer any questions you have with ease, provide their licenses, and start to formulate a quote.
- Do your homework
Call the references the contractors have given you. Did the contractor ask to see the blueprint when you had your meeting? If they didn’t, they aren’t your ideal contractor. A quote can’t be made if they don’t know what they will be working on. Also, you want to discard the lowball quote. Quality work isn’t cheap.
- Discuss the project and finances
Once you’ve selected the final contractor and agreed upon the estimate, it’s time to find out how their billing structure is set up. You should never pay a contractor all the money up front. Even with glowing reviews, contractors can slip up. Don’t put yourself in that position.
- Timelines and agreements
The contractor should be able to provide a firm timeline on what will happen and how long the project will take. Everything you two agree on should be outlined in the contract from the very beginning. This protects your interests. The contract should detail every element of the project, from payment schedules to materials being used. The agreement should include proof of liability insurance, as well. You should require lien releases from the contractor to protect you from subcontractors and suppliers that may go after them if they don’t pay their bills. If there are any changes, it must be outlined in the agreement.
Following these steps should help you choose the right contractor and get the home of your dreams.
Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.
However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.
In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.
Appraisals are a baseline
When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.
Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).
Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.
Key appraisal factors
After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:
The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems
The energy-efficiency of the home
The current market value in the area
The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more
What an appraisal can’t tell you
Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.
First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.
Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.
Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.
No one should be forced to deal with a long, complicated home selling journey. Fortunately, there are many things a seller can do to navigate the property selling journey like a pro.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a quick, profitable home selling experience.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
You may have entered the housing market in the hopes of enjoying a seamless property selling experience. Yet the real estate market offers no guarantees. But if you analyze the housing sector closely, you can gain the insights you need to price your home appropriately based on the present market's conditions.
Take a look at the prices of available homes in your city or town that are similar to your own. This housing market data can help you see how your residence stacks up against the competition. It also may help you determine how to price your residence so you can ensure it garners lots of attention from potential buyers.
Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold houses in your area, as well as how long these residences were available before they sold. If homes are selling quickly, a seller's market may be in place. Or, if homes linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months, the current housing sector may favor sellers.
2. Perform Home Upgrades
For those who want to speed up the home selling process, improving your house's curb appeal is ideal. Because if your home boasts amazing curb appeal, you can make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your house.
To bolster your residence's curb appeal, you should mow the lawn, repair any damaged siding and perform other home exterior improvements. That way, your house is sure to impress buyers as soon as they see it for the first time.
In addition, allocate time and resources to transform your home's interior from drab to fab. If each room of your home dazzles, buyers will have no trouble envisioning what life may be like if they purchase your house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Generally, it helps to hire a real estate agent if you are selling your home. And if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly promote your residence to the right groups of buyers.
A real estate agent will offer recommendations to help you upgrade your residence's interior and exterior, set up home showings and open house events and much more. Plus, if you are ever unsure about how to proceed along the property selling journey, he or she is happy to offer home selling advice.
For those who prepare for the home selling journey, it may not take long to sell a house. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can plan ahead for each stage of the property selling journey. As such, you will be able to navigate this journey like a pro.
Purchasing a house may prove to be a long, complex process, particularly for a first-time buyer. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey.
1. Narrow Your Search for Your Dream Home
It often helps to enter the real estate market with a checklist of home must-haves and wants. With this checklist, you will be better equipped than ever before to perform a deep evaluation of any house, at any time.
Think about what you want to find in your dream home and include these criteria in your checklist. For instance, if you want to own a house near your office, you can search for houses that are just a few miles from your workplace. Or, if you want to purchase a house with a big backyard, you should look at houses that offer the space that you need.
2. Submit a Competitive Offer
If you find a house that you want to buy, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. However, it is important to differentiate between a "lowball" offer and a competitive one beforehand.
A lowball offer generally fails to account for the state of a house, as well as the current real estate market's conditions. It is likely to fall short of a home seller's expectations, and as a result, lead to an immediate "No."
Conversely, a competitive offer is based on housing market data, along with the condition and age of a house. And if you submit a competitive offer on a residence, you may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller.
3. Conduct an In-Depth Home Inspection
After you and a home seller agree to terms, you will want to conduct a comprehensive home inspection. This will enable you to fully examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential home problems before you finalize your purchase.
When it comes to buying a home, there is no need to forego a home inspection. In fact, if you bypass a home inspection, you risk encountering costly, time-intensive home problems in the near future.
To hire an expert home inspector, perform a search of the available inspectors in your city or town. Then, meet with several home inspectors, ask for client referrals and allocate the necessary time and resources to perform an in-depth assessment. Because if you hire the right home inspector, you can get the support that you need to make an informed home purchase.
Lastly, if you need help finding a home inspector or completing other homebuying tasks, it usually is a good idea to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, working with a real estate agent will increase the likelihood that you can enjoy a quick, easy homebuying journey.