Thursday, July 31, 2008

The most fun investment!

In recent months, a major portion of our time has been spent talking with potential buyers about whether or not now is the best time to buy. That answer is dependent on a lot of factors for each individual, but the one thing that I think is interesting is that many people are not basing their decision to purchase or not purchase on anything other than perceptions and media driven panic. While many segments of the market are in real trouble and even the strongest area slow, that is all terrific news for buyers. I can't tell you how often we hear stories of, "I had a chance to buy this great property 5 years ago, but...". Like any other investment, there are going to be ups and downs and the goal is to buy at the bottom, but the greatest thing about real estate as an investment is that you get to enjoy the property and build memories for your family and friends along the way. Many people are out there looking at their stocks right now and wishing they were something they could physically hurt! Many others are sitting on the dock in front of their lake house watching the kids catch bluegills. If you're in a position to afford a vacation property and have a long term outlook on your investments, it's a great time to start building those memories!!! We look forward to seeing you up north soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The House Hunt Virtual and Real

Looking at homes on the internet is initially fun and then it gets time consuming and a little frustrating. On the upside you now have a general idea of which community or area you want to be in and you have an idea of pricing. But this is just the beginning of a true search. Think of your internet information as a treasure map. Now it’s onto the "real" home hunt.

Who do you take with you on your hunt? First off, I would suggest your experienced and professional real estate agent. They have previewed many of the homes that you have only seen on the net and they are a wealth of information not just about homes, real estate issues, local lenders, but about the community as well.

If you’re married, you take your spouse. You might find something perfect and you will want your spouse in on the discussion from the start. If you’re a couple, then take your partner.

If you’re single and buying on your own house using your own money, you can take a friend for company, but someone who is supportive. The decisions are ultimately yours.

You may want to think twice about widening the circle of people you want to take on the house hunt. Lots of people in your entourage will mean lots of opinions. Could be confusing. The worst thing that could happen is that you miss out on the house of your dreams because someone else didn’t like it for one reason or another. Keep in mind who’s going to live in it; the answer is you.

First impressions, I talked about that before: do you like the house or don’t you? If you don’t like it, move on. If you like the exterior of the home it’s worth a look around inside. Go from room to room and try to imagine yourself living there. Does it have the features you want? Overlook d├ęcor that can be easily changed out like carpeting, paint color, window treatments.

Walk the property. Is it what you had in mind? This is especially important when looking at river or lake properties. Is a good view critical or is it unimportant to you? Also you may want to check out the existing landscape and the immediate adjacent properties.

A bit of good advice: tell your agent why you didn’t like a property. Otherwise, in the future the agent may continue to show you houses that you aren’t interested in. Your agent wants to know specifically what you like and don’t like.

How many houses should you look at? Obviously that’s up to you. But if you gave your real estate agent good guidelines there will be a limited number of homes that will fit your needs and wants. Plan on looking at several houses per appointment. Here “Up North", properties can be far apart. Do not expect to see 20 plus on a given day, it can be done but I assure you that it will be exhausting and you won’t remember specific details about any of them.

If the first preview went well and you like a specific house, you may want to go back and take a second look. Do you still think this is the house for you? Use your checklist, make notes, and take photos. Feel free to ask more questions.

This is it. The ideal house for you! Make an offer… the adventure is just beginning.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Your Property Wish List

You're ready to take the plunge; you want to move your primary home location or finally get that weekend get-away you always talked about. As you hunt down your dream home or ideal cottage, it’s good to keep in mind that the more specific you are in detailing what you want before setting out to look at what is available, the more likely your real estate professional will be able to show you properties that match your expectations. Coming up with a “shopping list” is a good idea, be sure to share it with your real estate agent. Your agent will use the criteria that you set as a guide for searching out and winnowing down selections for your consideration.

What type of property do you prefer?
Waterfront: River or Lake (all sports or no wake)
Acreage: how much and preferred location

How close must the home be to these amenities:
Airport
Expressway
Recreational Activities (for example: golfing, fishing, skiing, etc…)
Neighborhood shopping
Schools
Other

Home Style
What architectural style(s) of homes do you prefer?
Would you like a one-story or two-story home?
How many bedrooms must your new home have?
How many bathrooms must your new home have?

Home Condition
Do you prefer a new home or an existing home?
If you’re looking for an existing home, how old of a home would you consider?
How much repair or renovation would you be willing to do?
Do you have special needs that your home must meet?

Home Features
Back yard
Garage (____ cars)
Patio/Deck
Family room
Eat-in-kitchen
Laundry room
Finished basement
Fireplace
Spa in bath
Wood Floors
Great view
Other notes: