Kim Duke - WEICHERT, REALTORSģ - Briarwood Real Estate



Posted by Kim Duke on 6/18/2018

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, weíre going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyerís experience.

If youíre interested in learning the steps youíll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, youíll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. Youíll want to make sure the area youíre moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but itís an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house youíre looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount youíll be approved for. Youíll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you donít open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. Theyíll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you canít get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now itís time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesnít mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by Kim Duke on 5/28/2018

Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.

What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.

1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos

The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.

Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.

Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo

Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.

Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.

In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.

A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.

For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.

Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.

Simplify the process of buying your first condo Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.




Tags: buyer tips   Buying a home   Condo  
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Posted by Kim Duke on 4/2/2018

If you want to buy your dream house, you'll likely need to submit a competitive offer from the get-go. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving a "Yes" from a home seller and proceed along the homebuying journey.

Putting together a competitive homebuying proposal can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare a competitive offer to acquire your ideal residence.

1. Look at Your Homebuying Budget

Entering the real estate market with a budget in hand generally is beneficial. This budget will enable you to narrow your house search to residences that fall within a certain price range. Plus, your budget can help you define exactly how much you can offer to acquire a residence.

When it comes to mapping out a homebuying budget, you should meet with several lenders. These financial experts can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. And with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house.

2. Review Housing Market Data

Housing market data can make or break a homebuying proposal. If you assess real estate market data closely, you can uncover a variety of patterns and trends. Then, you can use this information to craft a competitive offer that accounts for the present real estate market's conditions.

Of course, it helps to evaluate the age and condition of a house as well. Learning about all aspects of a house will help you determine whether to submit an offer at, above or below a seller's initial asking price for his or her residence.

The more information that you obtain about a residence and the current housing market's conditions, the better off you will be. Because if you take a data-driven approach to buying a residence, you can define a competitive offer for any home, in any housing market and at any time.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who is uncertain about what differentiates a competitive home offer from a "lowball" proposal. In fact, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you can acquire a great house at the lowest-possible price.

Typically, a real estate agent will provide you with a wealth of housing market insights. He or she also is happy to teach you about the real estate market and respond to any of your homebuying concerns or questions.

A real estate agent can offer recommendations about how much you should offer to pay for a house too. He or she will provide honest, unbiased homebuying suggestions to help guide you in the right direction throughout the homebuying cycle.

If you want to purchase your dream house as quickly as possible, there is no reason to delay any further. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare a competitive offer to purchase your dream residence.




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Posted by Kim Duke on 1/22/2018

Contingencies on a contract to buy a home are there to protect both the buyer and the seller. The contingencies give the buyer the right to back out of the contract if any of these contingencies arenít met. There are many reasons that buyers back out of deals including financial issues and problems with the home. Below, youíll find a break down of some of the most common contingencies and what they mean for you as a buyer or a seller.   


Financing Contingency


Most home contracts come with whatís called a financing contingency. This gives you the ability to walk away from a deal if the financing falls through when trying to buy a home. Usually this is due to a credit reason or some other financial reason. You canít rely on financial cracks to help you to back out of a deal on a home. Lenders will only deny a loan for real financial reasons. Thereís no way to ask a lender to lie for you so you can get out of buying a home! This is why you need to make your decision about a home purchase wisely.   



Inspection Contingency


This gives the buyer the right to have an inspection on the home within a certain time frame which is usually 5-7 days. If something is really off with the inspection that you as a buyer donít feel comfortable with, you have the right to back out of a deal without repercussions. While seller disclosures are important, the seller canít disclose what they donít know about. Thatís why the home inspection is so important. The sellerís disclosure cannot protect you from hidden damages that may cost half of a homeís worth to repair.   


Appraisal Contingency


If homes are selling fast and you want some secure way to back out of a deal you should consider an appraisal contingency. If the home you want to purchase doesnít appraise at a price high enough to meet your mortgage requirements, you have a legal way to back out of the deal. For example, if you put down 20 percent of the purchase price of a home and the home doesn't appraise for the value of that purchase price, youíd need to come up with the remainder of the money in cash. An appraisal contingency protects you from having to face this. Youíll still need to have a home inspection done on the home to search for any problems, but an appraisal contingency protects you from any problems with financing and your own disposable amount of cash that could arise due to a home appraising low. 


While contingencies arenít necessary as a homebuyer, theyíre highly recommended. Without contingencies, you could be left with a number of expenses such as damages that are extremely costly to fix.




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Posted by Kim Duke on 1/15/2018

When youíre searching for a house, the location is often key. Maybe you have found homes in your desired city or town. Yet, all homes are not created equal. Locations arenít created equal either. Thereís advantages and disadvantages to the type of street that a home is on. If youíre on a main road, you may have more accessibility to what you need, but traffic noise could be a negative aspect of this living situation. Living on a cul-de-sac gives you the best of both worlds. You can be in your desired location, but also enjoy some peace and quiet. Your kids will even have a fairly safe space to play on without worry on your part about traffic conditions. Hereís some of the best reasons to find a property on a cul-de-sac:


Thereís No Through Traffic


No one will be using your street as a shortcut for anything, since itís a dead end! This provides a safety net for you as youíll know the types of vehicles that should be on the street at any given time. Neighbors can be mindful if they happen to see strange people or vehicles lingering in the neighborhood. This allows streets with dead ends to have lower crime rates. Everyone is more alert, because thereís generally so little happening on the street that any activity is noticeable. Criminals also tend to shy away from these types of neighborhoods due to the fact that people are much more aware.  


Itís Better For Children


You always need to watch your children and teach them basic safety rules. Living on a cul-de-sac may actually help relieve a bit of the burden in allowing your children to play more freely. Cars that are traveling down the street wonít be doing so as fast. Your children will be visible right form your home as well.  


Also, since everyone lives so close together and basically in a visible range of one another itís easier to develop neighborhood friendships. Children will be able to play with other kids their own age and have a common meeting spot- at the end of the street! Even as a parent, youíll have a better opportunity to get to know other parents and meet up with those in the neighborhood. Thereís just something about living on a dead-end street that allows for a more tight-knit community.


Home Values Rise


All of the positive things that we have emphasized here about living on a cul-de-sac are part of the reason these properties keep their high values. With better curb appeal, more safety, and a strong sense of a community, itís hard to pass up a chance to live on a cul-de-sac.




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