Paul W. Cutler's Blog
When you’re shopping for a home, it’s essential to find a balance between being respectful of the owner’s privacy and being open enough that you ask the right questions and find out what you need to know about the home.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover all of the etiquette and best practices when it comes to viewing someone’s home that you’re interested in buying.
Before we get into the fine details of questions to ask and what areas are okay to explore, let’s take a minute to discuss the basic etiquette of entering someone’s home.
First, make sure you arrive on time and ready to tour the home. Being late will give the seller and their agent the perception that you might not be a serious buyer if you aren’t arriving at the showing on time.
Additionally, when you first enter the home, it’s a good idea to ask if you should take off your shoes. Some homeowners have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy that they extend to guests as well as friends and family. But, at the very least, make sure that your shoes are clean so you don’t track mud around the home.
In terms of cleanliness, make sure you dress appropriately for the showing and that you don’t bring in food or drinks. You don’t want to be dropping crumbs or spilling coffee in a home that is being kept meticulously clean for house showings.
Ask the right questions
As you are viewing the home, it’s appropriate to ask questions that may come up. Feel free to ask about the age of the home and when repairs and renovations were made.
It’s also fine to ask questions about the neighborhood and town if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Traffic and noise levels are pertinent information for any serious buyer. And these are questions that will be vital to understanding the home better and whether it’s a good fit for you at the moment.
Where can you snoop?
It’s a good idea to ask before opening cabinets, closets, and doors the first time. But these are all reasonable things to expect to be able to look inside of when buying a home.
It’s not a good idea, however, to look inside nightstands, dressers, and other compartments that are more private and personal.
If a homeowner or agent asks that you don’t enter a room entirely, such as a bedroom, bathroom, or basement, this is a major red flag that there’s an issue with the room in question. Every room of the home should be in-bounds when it comes to viewing a home that you might someday buy.
At the end of the viewing
Once the viewing is over, it’s best to simply compliment the home, offer your thanks for the tour, and head home to consider your experience.
Avoid making any sharp criticism of the home before leaving, and don’t mention any negotiations or ask questions about the pricing at this point. It’s better to leave on a positive note and have these discussions in private with your family before taking your offers to the seller.
Making an offer on a home you’d love to buy is arguably the most stressful part of the buying process. You’ll be worrying about making the right offer, whether you’ve presented yourself in the best possible light, and just how much competition you’re up against.
Today we’re going to help you alleviate that anxiety by giving you the most common real estate offer mistakes to avoid, and show you how you can increase your chances of getting the perfect home for you.
1. Do your research on the house
You have a lot of research to do before making an offer on a home. You’ll want to know the price the home formerly sold for and improvements that have been made and that will need to be made if you move in.
It also helps to know the seller’s situation. Are they on a deadline and moving out-of-state? If so, they might be tempted to take one of the earlier offers they receive.
2. Know your own financial limits
Before you ever make an offer you’ll need to know how much you can spend. This isn’t just a matter of offering the maximum amount you’re preapproved for. You’ll have to factor in moving expenses, final payments on your last rent or mortgage, changes in utility costs, and more.
3. Don’t offer your full preapproval amount
Sellers who know that you’ve offered your maximum preapproval amount may be wary of selling since they know you lack room to negotiate your budget and therefore might have a higher chance of backing out of the offer. They might favor other buyers who have room to negotiate and account for unexpected changes in their budget or of rising interest rates.
4. Avoid aggressive negotiation
We know the stakes are high for everyone involved in making a real estate deal. However, sellers are more likely to accept the offer of someone they trust and like over someone who seems to be trying to gain leverage.
Always be cordial with your offers and support them with numbers--explain to the seller why you chose the number you did, so that they can understand your reasoning.
5. Don’t attempt to gain leverage by waiving a home inspection
By law, you are allowed to have a home professionally inspected before purchase. Waiving this right is sometimes misconstrued as a way to tell a seller that you trust them and don’t want to cause them any unnecessary headaches.
The reality of the matter is that if you truly do want to own their home, sellers understand that you want to know what you’re buying.
6. This isn’t the only house you can be happy in
Hunting for a home is hard work. Once you find one that seems perfect for you or your family, it can seem like everything depends on your offer being accepted.
However, the fact is there are endless houses on the market, and next week a new one could be put up for sale that is even better than the home you’re hoping for now.
If your offer isn’t accepted and you don’t feel comfortable committing to a higher price, move on to the next house knowing that you made the best decision under the circumstances.
Homeschooling has been a growing educational option in the last decade or so. The possibilities for homeschooling at all grade levels have significantly increased in recent years due to both demand and easy access to the internet. Although each state differs on the guidelines and requirements for students, homeschoolers have a lot of choices on how they get their educational requirements fulfilled.
Traditional homeschooling usually constitutes that you provide not only all the curriculum but also the instruction and schedule. When you chose this method, you are considered completely independent. You will need to file minimal paperwork with the local school district. Check the state's requirement on what to submit and when. The cost of learning materials, electives, and field trips are up to you with this educational option. There is a lot of customization available in this way of schooling. Your student can progress through subjects that really spark their interest and take extra time when an area takes a bit more effort to understand. Record keeping and transcripts are your responsibility for each of your student(s).
Public School Online
Many school districts are offering online learning either through individual districts or state level. Your student is considered a public-school student and all learning materials are provided by the program. If your student(s) are enrolled with the local school district, there is usually one day a week of face to face interaction. You student will most likely check in with an advisor teacher and go over the weekly assignments be able to ask any questions and clarify the next tasks. There is also a chance to meet and interact with other online students. During these on-campus days, electives are offered to allow students to explore additional areas of study. If you choose the online option that is overseen at the state level, your student will then check in with an instructor via email, phone call or video chat at scheduled intervals or when your student requests assistance. Field trips are often offered by regions and provide for students to meet each other and learn together.
More Choices the Better
No matter what options you choose the flexibility for today’s students are on the grow. Try to keep in mind your student’s learning style. One size does not fit even within a household so take your time and find what will work for your family environment and each individual student. Remember that whatever school district you live in also affords your student with organized sports that they can participate.
So take some time and research what your local school district offers as far as off-campus learning, you may be surprised at the variety that is out there.
When it comes to selling a house, there is no reason to operate as a "basic" home seller. Instead, you can become a "responsive" home seller, i.e. someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to get the best price for his or house.
Ultimately, becoming a responsive home seller may be easier than you think – here are three tips to ensure you can enter the real estate market as a responsive home seller.
1. Track Housing Market Patterns and Trends
As a responsive home seller, you'll want to monitor the real estate market closely. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than other property sellers to identify housing market trends and respond accordingly.
For example, if you notice a large collection of available houses and a shortage of property buyers, this likely indicates a buyer's market reigns supreme. In this market, you may face steep competition as you try to sell your house.
On the other hand, if you find that many high-quality residences are selling quickly, a seller's market may be in place. And in a seller's market, you may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a fast, seamless home selling process.
A responsive home seller will be able to differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market. Then, this home seller can map out his or her home selling journey accordingly.
2. Remain Open to New Ideas
Selling a home often requires plenty of persistence and hard work. For responsive home sellers, it also requires flexibility and patience.
Typically, a responsive home seller will be happy to listen and respond to past home sellers' advice. This home seller will be open to learning from past home sellers' successes and failures and using their insights to make informed home selling decisions.
For those who want to become responsive home sellers, feel free to reach out to family members and friends who have sold houses in the past. This will enable you to gain deep insights into the home selling process that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
With a real estate agent at his or her side, an ordinary home seller can become a responsive property seller in no time at all.
A real estate agent will communicate with a home seller throughout each stage of the home selling cycle. Meanwhile, a responsive home seller will listen to this housing market professional and work with him or her to achieve the optimal results.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will be available to respond to a home seller's concerns and queries. At the same time, a responsive home seller will be ready to collaborate with a real estate agent via phone calls, emails and texts.
Use the aforementioned tips to become a responsive home seller – you'll be happy you did. Responsive home sellers may be more likely than other property sellers to seamlessly navigate the home selling cycle and maximize the value of their residences.
Buying a home should be an unforgettable journey, one that enables you to purchase a high-quality house at a budget-friendly price. If you start planning for the homebuying journey today, you may be able to reduce the risk of encountering homebuying hurdles as you attempt to acquire a first-rate house.
Ultimately, there are many important decisions for homebuyers to make before they enter the real estate market, including:
1. Where Do I Want to Live?
As a homebuyer, you'll want to know where you want to go so you can map out your property buying journey.
Consider your current and future plans before you enter the housing market – you'll be glad you did. This will enable you to consider where you'll be in the next few months and years and plan accordingly.
For example, if you currently work in the city and intend to stay at your present job, you may want to search for a home that makes it easy to commute to work.
On the other hand, if you plan to start a family in the foreseeable future, you may want to consider purchasing a home near various top-notch parks and schools.
2. How Much Can I Spend on a House?
You know that you'd like to become a homeowner, but how much can you afford to pay for a residence? Meet with several banks and credit unions, and you can start budgeting for a home.
Banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, with a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a good idea about how much you can spend on a residence.
Many banks and credit unions are available, and they are happy to teach you about the ins and outs of numerous mortgage options. Plus, lenders will respond to your mortgage concerns and queries and help you make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Will I Need to Hire a Real Estate Agent?
If you're on the lookout for your dream home, why not hire an expert to guide you along the homebuying journey? With a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your ideal residence.
A real estate agent will provide expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey. As such, he or she will help you set realistic expectations before you begin your search for your dream house.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even offer expert real estate insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
When it comes to purchasing a house, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to help you along the homebuying journey and simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.