Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 11/26/2017

For many people, nothing beats condo living. As such, the demand for condos continues to grow, and many property buyers are relocating to condos across the nation.

Before you buy a condo, however, it is important to remember that condo living is different from living in a traditional house. Therefore, property buyers who plan accordingly can set realistic expectations for condo living.

How can a property buyer find out what it's like to live in a condo community? Here are three tips to help you prepare for condo living.

1. Learn About Condo Communities in Your Area

Condo communities come in all shapes and sizes, and you should take a close look at the condo communities in your city or town to find out what they're all about.

Even a quick drive through a condo community may prove to be exceedingly valuable. This will enable you to see the size and style of assorted condos, along with the distance between the properties themselves.

After you view a few condo communities, consider what you'd like to find in your ideal residence. This will enable you to compare and contrast your home must-haves versus what condos offer and map out your property search accordingly.

2. Meet with Current and Past Condo Owners

Do any family members or friends who currently live in a condo community? If so, schedule a meet-up with them so they can share their thoughts and views on condo living with you.

Nothing beats firsthand knowledge about condo communities. By meeting with current or past condo residents, you can better understand the pros and cons of condo living.

Be sure to come up with a list of questions before you meet with current or past condo residents as well. Remember, the more you prepare, the better off you'll be as you determine whether condo living is right for you.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a residence that you'll be able to enjoy both now and in the future. As a result, this housing market professional can set up condo showings for you, allowing you to find out what it's like to live in a condo community.

In addition, a real estate agent can provide extensive details about what to expect if you decide to purchase a condo. This real estate professional can provide a copy of a condo community's homeowners' association (HOA) rules, inform you about any HOA fees and offer details about community pools and tennis courts that may be available to condo residents.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to offer honest, unbiased condo buying recommendations. He or she can provide you with plenty of information about a broad assortment of condos to help you make an informed purchase decision.

When it comes to browsing condos, don't leave anything to chance. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can explore a variety of condos any time you choose.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 8/13/2017

As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 7/16/2017

Let's face it – even though many great homes are available, securing your dream house at the best price can be extremely difficult due to the sheer volume of homebuyers. Lucky for you, we're here to help you stand out from the competition so you can purchase your ideal home at a price that matches your budget.

What does it take to differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition? Here are three tips to help homebuyers gain a competitive edge over rivals:

1. Submit a Competitive Offer

There is no time for hesitation in a highly competitive real estate market. Thus, if you see a home that you like, be ready to submit a competitive offer immediately.

With a competitive offer, you can improve your chances of securing your dream home in no time at all. This offer shows that you are serious about purchasing a residence – something that may help your proposal stand out from others. Plus, a competitive offer will be based on housing market data and research, ensuring that your proposal will meet your needs as well as a home seller's.

Furthermore, if a home seller counters your initial offer, be ready to negotiate. Keep an open mind, and ultimately, you may be able to land your dream house quickly and effortlessly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables you to establish realistic expectations before you begin your search for your perfect home.

Check out what various credit unions and banks have to offer prior to agreeing to mortgage terms. By doing so, you can find a mortgage that will correspond with your finances.

With a mortgage in hand, you can start your home search. Be sure to explore lots of houses that fall within your price range. And when you're ready to submit an offer, a home seller may be more likely to accept your proposal thanks in part to the fact that you have already secured financing.

3. Employ an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents possess plenty of housing marketing knowledge and expertise. Therefore, they can help you streamline the process of securing the perfect residence.

Finding a real estate agent who understands the ins and outs of the housing market is paramount. This real estate professional will keep you informed about new houses in your area as they become available, set up home showings and even help you submit competitive offers on residences. In addition, if you're ever uncertain about how to proceed, your real estate agent can offer guidance and tips throughout the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries. He or she is happy to help you in any way possible and will ensure that you can differentiate yourself from the homebuying competition.

Hire an experienced real estate agent, and you can gain a competitive edge that is sure to serve you well in any housing market, at any time.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 6/18/2017

Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 5/14/2017

In your search for a home, there’s one option that you may be overlooking. That is the act of sharing a home with others. It can help you to divide the expenses of homeownership and even put you on a faster path to homeownership. When you do decide to share the cost of homeownership with others, there’s a few things that you should know.


There’s so many different advantages to co-buying a home with a relative, even as a married couple. You do need to make sure that the arrangement is well thought out and planned ahead of time. 


The Title


When you buy a house, you receive what’s called a title. In the case of co-ownership, it explains how the buyers are sharing the title. The way the title is set up could have consequences down the road, especially when it comes to one person exiting the house, and parting ways with the agreement.  


When Sharing A Property With A Non-Spouse


When you’re sharing the property with a non-spouse, you have a few options. These include:


Tenant In Common


With this option, there’s no need for a 50/50 split. Buyers are allowed to own unequal interests in the property. If one of the co-owners were to pass away, their ownership would be transferred to one of their beneficiaries. For this reason, tenant in common is the most popular way that buyers who are not related agree in guying a property together and take on the title.     


Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship


With this option, co-buyers have no option but to own equal interests in the property at hand as a 50/50 split. If you bought a home with two other people, you’d each have one-third interest in the home, and so on. If one tenant passes away, the remaining owners gain the deceased owner’s percentage of interest in the property. There’s no need for a court proceeding or probate, this happens automatically. Even if the deceased owner has a will designating their portion of the property be given to someone else, the request is null and will generally be refused.   



Both of these co-ownership options allow for an undivided interest in a property. All owners are co-owners as a part of the entire piece of property. If one owner wants to sell, for example, they would be selling their tenancy or part interest in the property.       

Important Things To Do:


  • Create a co-ownership agreement
  • Clarify who owns what percentage
  • Decide who pays the ongoing expenses
  • Give options if any owners want out in the future


You could draft one of these agreements with a qualified attorney. It’s a good idea to sit with everyone before the purchase of the property is made to talk and lay out all of the expectations. Everyone should have one of these agreements in writing, however. 


While sharing a property purchase can reduce your debt, it’s important to make smart agreements and understand whether the decision makes sense for you and all parties involved.