This coming weekend, we’re excited to announce we have 28 homes being held open! Every visitor that signs in to one of our open houses on May 19th or 20th will have a chance to win one of three Amazon smart voice assistants: the Amazon Echo, Amazon Spot or the Amazon Plus! These are an awesome addition to your existing smart home system or a great way to start automating your home!
All of our agents are excited to see you this weekend — even if you’re not in the market right now for a home, they’d love to be a resource for you until you are ready to begin your home buying journey! The homes being held open are gorgeous and you can explore all of them ahead of time HERE and even use our map to plan your route!
Tips for Potential Buyers
Nervous about visiting your first open house? Not sure what you should do to make the most of your fact-finding mission? Check out our blog about how to take advantage of an open house for buyers! Seeing the home in person and info you gather during an open house can be extremely useful in determining what kind of an offer you should make or whether or not the home is the right fit for your needs!
Tips for Home Sellers
If you’re in the process of selling your home, prepping your home for an open house is extremely important. Make sure you’re checking all the boxes before opening your home to the public with our blog on how to set your home up for success!
Thinking about skipping the home inspection in order to save a little money? You could end up costing yourself WAY more in the long run! Here’s why we always recommend buyers get a very thorough home inspection done:
Protect Your Investment
Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make and throughout the transaction, we’ll work to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Hiring a licensed home inspector can help make sure that your investment will not be wasted on an unsound or unsafe home!
A professional Home Inspector takes a close look beneath a house’s surface, and then prepares a detailed written report for the prospective buyer on things like the condition of the foundation, electrical service, roof, insulation, and other critical structural factors. We know several experienced and trusted Home Inspectors that are familiar with the local area and can help connect you with them when the time comes.
Are They Worth It?
Although costs will vary, you can probably expect to spend $200-500 for an inspection of a single family home. And who pays for it? Well, since the benefit is almost entirely that of the home buyer, it’s usually the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection–particularly in a hot real estate market, where the home sellers have more leverage.
All things considered, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides, and the negotiating power it can give you–especially if it indicates that there are major repairs required, but you decide to make an offer anyway. Most home inspectors are now offering a “re-inspection” service for a small fee so you can make sure that any items were repaired correctly! This is great to do during your final walkthrough for your own peace of mind.
When it comes to making your offer to purchase, our experienced agents can provide you with good advice on how to allow for a home inspection.
The Fredericksburg area’s real estate market remains strong this February with year-over-year increases in total sold dollar volume, median price, and units sold as well as a decrease in average days on market. Inventory is still quite low but that’s good news for sellers, as properties spend fewer days on market and get higher sales prices! Homes priced appropriately are selling much faster than normal due to the scarcity of available properties.
The average sales price in the City of Fredericksburg was $307,797 in March, down 7.1% from this time last year. This makes it a great time to buy, but you may have trouble finding one–homes are spending an average of 86 days on market with only 16 homes sold in March. With so few homes coming on the market, you’ll need to act fast to get your offer accepted.
The average sales price in Stafford County was $343,938 in March, up 11.3% from this time last year. Homes are spending an average of 74 days on market with 85 homes sold in March. It’s a great time to sell in Stafford County so reach out to any of our agents for a free home evaluation!
It’s an awesome time to sell in Spotsylvania County! Average home prices are up 11.2%, with an average sales price of $280,675! While homes are spending 105 days on the market on average, 34 homes were sold in March alone.
The commercial real estate market is also posting positive numbers. Vice President of our Commercial Division, Ben Keddie, comments, “The commercial market has been very active of late. The progress of deals through the sales cycle is still relatively slow but activity and productivity is very high with all signs pointing towards 2018 being a very busy and productive year.”
So you’re finally ready to buy your own home, congrats! It’s a big decision that can really impact your life and your finances. Here are our top five things to do before you take the leap to make sure you’re completely prepared!
Strengthen your credit score
Don’t know your credit score? If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future—it’s time to find out! Try CreditKarma or any of the free credit reports to see what you may need to work on or if you’re in good shape! The better your credit score, the less you’ll need to pay for your home loan. The quickest way to improve your score is to pay down any credit card balances! You’ll also want to avoid applying for credit, for example, opening a new credit card or getting a car loan, until after you’ve closed on your new home!
Figure out what you can afford
Now’s the time to face the facts and be realistic. What’s your actual budget for purchasing a home? Conventional wisdom says that home expenses should only take up around 30-33% of your income each year. What will your monthly mortgage payment be, including interest, mortgage insurance and any HOA fees? An easy way to figure out what you can afford is by using Zillow’s Mortgage Calculator—easily adjust your purchase price vs down payment and see how it can affect your monthly payment. You’ll also want to set aside an emergency fund for unexpected repairs—especially during your first year! Once you’ve figured out what price range you can comfortably afford, stick to only looking at homes in that range.
Research different neighborhoods
You know your desired price range and what kind of home you’re looking for—now ’s the time to do your homework! Different areas and neighborhoods have their own character, benefits and drawbacks—consult your Realtor, websites like Niche, Crimemapping and Yelp, and if possible, drive through any neighborhoods you’re seriously considering at various times of day to really get a feel for them.
Keep in mind that the down payment is only one part of the costs you’ll need to pay upfront. Once you cough up that 10% down payment, you’ll still need to pay for any closing costs, necessary inspections, repairs or maintenance costs, the first few months of mortgage and insurance payments, and any moving costs. Closing costs can run anywhere from 2-5% of the asking price while typical home inspections are around $350-500. That’s on top of your down payment! With all that in mind, is your dream home still within your housing budget of 30-33% of your yearly income?
Connect with a lender
An experienced loan officer can be a huge help during your preparation period! They’ll help you figure out what loan product will be best for you and what you can do to improve your credit. Your CBE agent can recommend plenty of awesome loan officers and once you’ve got your pre-approval letter, you’re ready to tour homes and make an offer!
Buying a home (whether it’s your first or not!) is an exciting experience and can be immensely rewarding! All of us at CBE wish you the best of luck finding your dream home–don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help along the way!
Scrolling through your Facebook timeline in your twenties and thirties can feel like a never-ending slideshow of #adulting milestones. Why is everyone engaged all of a sudden? When did so-and-so have a baby? Chances are, you’ve seen quite a few “We just bought a home!” posts, too. If you’re one of the 80% of millennials would like to purchase real estate, watching all your friends buy a home can trigger massive FOMO.
We’re here to help you figure out whether you’re ready to join the homeowner ranks! As fun as it looks on social media, buying a home before you’re ready or for the wrong reasons can be a huge mistake. Let’s go through the top 3 reasons you might not be ready to buy a home right now:
1. Not enough money saved
So you’ve saved enough to make a 10% down payment on your dream home, congrats! Unfortunately, the down payment is only one part of the costs you’ll need to pay upfront. Once you cough up that 10% down payment, you’ll still need to pay for any closing costs, necessary inspections, repairs or maintenance costs, the first few months of mortgage and insurance payments, and any moving costs. Closing costs can run anywhere from 2-5% of the asking price while typical home inspections are around $350-500. That’s on top of your down payment!
Keeping all that in mind, is your dream home still within your housing budget of 30-33% of your yearly income?
2. You’re on the move
Due to the high up-front costs of buying a home, real estate is not generally a good short-term investment. The days of flipping distressed properties for a profit are over so if you’re planning on making money on the sale of your home, you’ll need to stay put for at least five years. If your career or relationship status isn’t particularly stable or you’re considering exploring new areas in the next few years—buying may not be the smart choice right now.
3. You’re still working on your credit
A low credit score won’t make it impossible to buy a home, but it will make it more expensive. Check your credit score on free sites like Credit Karma—the higher your score, the better your interest rate on your mortgage will be! This can make a big difference in your monthly payments so if your credit score isn’t particularly healthy right now, you may want to wait to purchase a home. If you’re not sure where to start, a loan officer will be able to help you navigate the process of repairing your credit and getting ready to buy.
Moving, while stressful, is actually one of the best times to evaluate your wardrobe and all your possessions—if you’re dreading moving it to your new home, it’s probably time to let it go. ThredUp and Letgo are both awesome for paring down your closet and letting your old unwanted items have a new life. Not only will you have less stuff to move, you’ll be able to make some cash!
Schedule and organize your movers all online with Unpakt! If ever a moving website could be fun to use, this one would be! They help you figure out how many boxes you’ll need based on what kind of items you have and the size of your home and then let you compare moving companies’ prices! You can book them online for your move and the price is guaranteed—not an estimate—which is great for budgeting ahead of time!
Sortly is an awesome way to keep track of everything you own! Snap a picture of each of your belongings (or maybe just the ones most important to you!) and categorize them by room, box or any way you want. You can create searchable notes and tags to help you find things quickly and even mark boxes with QR labels to see what’s inside without digging through it! After your move, Sortly can be helpful when you’re figuring out how much you need to insure your home for—if you add the value of each of your items, it’ll total them up for you!
Let’s face it, once all your contingencies are satisfied, there’s not a whole lot for you to do besides pack until closing day. Use that hurrry-up-and-wait time to sketch out where your furniture will go, what decor should go where and what will make your new house flow as best as possible. Bonus: now you know exactly where certain boxes (and the super heavy furniture!) should go and you can label them for the movers so you’re not having to rearrange on the day of!
One of our favorite sites EVER! Updater makes transferring your mail, utilities and subscriptions to your new address a snap! Your CBE agent will put in your old and new addresses and voila! You’ll get a link to easily transfer over all of your mail and make sure your utilities are in order before the big day! A couple clicks and you’re done! Why isn’t everything this easy?
Moving soon and need an awesome checklist to make sure you’ve remembered everything? Check out our Ultimate Moving Checklist and download the room-by-room guide!