Posts Tagged ‘buyer resources’

The Homebuyer’s Guide to New Homes

10 TIPS TO SAVE YOU

MONEY and TIME –


The Homebuyer’s Guide to New Homes

“…read This BEFORE You Visit Your First Model Home!”


When shopping for your home, you’ll discover that most homes on the market are resales. Yet, one out of four homebuyers purchases a new home. Both new homes and resales offer advantages. Before you make a decision…

Compare These Points!

New Homes

  • offer innovative use of space and style
  • greater energy efficiency
  • a choice of options and upgrades
  • everything is new, and modern.

Existing Homes

  • on the average they are less expensive
  • often they are in established neighborhoods with mature landscaping
  • homes have already settled, eliminating possible problems that arise from this happening after the purchase of home

As you can see, there are advantages to both. Most people consider both new and existing homes before they decide to purchase. Should you be thinking about buying a new house, here are 10 points to consider before you visit your first model home.

1. Determine a Comfortable Price Range

Before you visit your first model home, sit down with your agent and do your homework. You’ll want to be prepared so that you can determine a comfortable price range for your new home.  If you own a home, you’ll first need to know the net proceeds from its sale in order to determine how much cash you’ll have to work with. Don’t simply estimate this but carefully calculate every possible selling cost. If you’re a first time buyer, you’ll need to first qualify your income. Determine the size of your down payment, then work out a monthly debt load so you can determine a comfortable price range.

2. A Builder For All Reasons

Like all tradesmen, builders vary in their fields of expertise. For example there are builders who specialize in craftsmanship, others who are known for their innovative use of space, and those who offer below-market financing or customer attention during construction and after move-in. Determine your own specific needs or preferences then shop around for a builder that will best address your requirements.

3. Get the Facts About Your Builder

Before making a final decision, it is wise to check out the reputation and financial strength of the builder. Get “spec sheets” on home features covering everything from floor plans to energy efficiency, including lot availability and delivery of your home.

4. Check Out the Neighborhood

  • Learn as much as you can about the community.
  • Discover what amenities it has to offer.
  • Investigate if financial reserves have been set aside to build or replace major amenities like schools or community roads
  • Find out from local land-use officials what else is planned or could be constructed in the area, especially where vacant land is applicable.
  • Review the rules for the homeowner’s association, or find out if one will be set up.
  • Think of how you will be affected by commuting routes and times.

5. Choosing Options and Upgrades

The less expensive the base price of the house is, the more options and upgrades you can add without fear of overpricing it for the neighborhood. Options are items the builder installs during construction, such as adding usable space like a sunroom or a powder room. These features can add the most to the resale value of your home. Upgrading means selecting quality above “builder standard” such as carpeting, ceramics, detailing, kitchen fixtures and appliances. Be sure to take advantage of builder incentives that offer free upgrades or credit off the sale price. Remember, you can add a deck, finished basement or landscaping later and sometimes for less money.

6. Negotiations

Some builders will not negotiate..which in my opinion gives them credibility. They do for one what they do for another, which I believe is the most fair approach to their sales. However, with other builders there may be room for negotiating price, upgrades, or options. For example, you have some leverage for negotiating with the builder if he has a completed a home but hasn’t sold it. Also some “premium lots” are priced higher and are sometimes saved to be sold last. Keep in mind that typically, all lots cost the builder the same, so be sure to enquire about lot pricing. Builders may offer discounts or special financing to help close a sale.

7. Be Sure the Contract Works in Your Favor!

When spelling out the particulars of an agreement with your builder, ensure you protect yourself by having safeguards written into the agreement, such as:

  • can you place your deposit in escrow? (some deposits go directly to the builder to allow them to start building)
  • detailing your upgrades;
  • allowing you access to the construction site to check on progress;
  • a 30-day advance notice of the closing date.
  • an explanation of what the fine print means in the warranties of the builder and manufacturer.

New Construction In Harrisburg, PA - Village Glen

8. Financing – What’s Best for You?

Some builders, especially in high-volume communities that place large numbers of loans, can offer special financing packages. However, because “home loan” lending is highly competitive, you have many financing choices other than those being offered by the builder. Shop around for everything, from rates to lender fees. Appraisals, inspections, surveys, attorneys and closing fees can vary as well.

9. Just Because it’s New…. – Doesn’t Mean it’s Perfect

Yes it’s new and typically it’s built with modern materials that are durable, low maintenance, stronger, quieter, and safer. But because nothing is perfect, even if it’s new, consider hiring a reputable, licensed home inspector. Most builders will not allow your contract to be contingent upon this inspection, but  you could create a builder “punch list” from what you’ve learned to address any problems before closing.

 10. Buyer Advantages Your Builder May Not Reveal!

Here’s a fact that you may not be aware of, some builders have newly-constructed homes available for immediate delivery. Usually these homes are ready to move into within 30 days. Even if some builders are eager to sell, they’ll probably keep that knowledge to themselves. Immediate delivery homes are often available for various reasons:

  • the community, where new homes are being constructed is nearly complete, so the builder proceeds to have the on-site-contractors build “spec” homes (homes built on speculation for sale) on the last lots;
  • the model home is for sale;
  • the contract on a home has fallen through;
  • builders include constructing homes for immediate delivery for buyers who are relocating or who have sold their previous home and need one to move into quickly.

Immediate delivery homes may be more desirable because, sometimes builders offer financing incentives or free options. This may be done in place of chopping prices to appeal to buyers purchasing later in the building phase. An immediate delivery home is an advantageous way to purchase a home if you need to move in quickly, or need a physical space to walk through and see before you sign a contract. Be sure to inquire.

For a FREE No Obligation list of New Home Communities in your Area and Price Range click here!

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793                                               Email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

Presented by KensHomesales.com

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How to Buy a House in Harrisburg PA – Why Days on Market Matters

How to Buy a House in Harrisburg PA –  Why Days on Market Matters

 

One of the first questions buyers ask me when considering how to buy a house, occurs when I hold an open house. They want to know its days on market. One of the first things a buyer asks about a listing is its days on market. Days on market matter when you’re on the hunt to learn how to buy a house.

How to Buy a House – Do Average Days on Market Matter?

Which is more important? The “average days” on market or the “number of days” on market of each listing? If you’re a buyer, of course, it’s the home you want to buy that matters when thinking about how to buy a house.  If you’re a seller whose home has been on the market for 60 days, you want to know how long it is taking homes like yours to sell.

How to Buy a House – How Buyers Look at Days on Market

There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. When buyers see extensive days on market, they figure the seller is desperate to sell because the home is still on the market. Buyers also believe there might be something wrong with the home that caused other buyers to pass it up. Both of those assumptions, however, can be wrong.

How to Buy a House – Homes can Linger on the Market for the following Reasons:

  • The common reason is overpricing.
    The agent may have “bought” the listing by misleading the seller into believing the home was worth more than the market will bear. It’s not unusual for an agent to deliberately take an overpriced listing.
  • Little seller motivation.
    Sometimes sellers want to “test the market” by pricing too high, just to see if they can find a fool to pay that price. It’s known as a seller’s worst mistake.
  • Stubbornness.
    Sellers could be stuck on the price and willing to wait out the market until the market catches up to the asking price.
  • Down real estate market.
    In buyer’s markets, it can take longer to sell a home than in seller’s markets. A home that would sell in five days in a seller’s market might sell in 120+ days in a down real estate market.
  • Unavailable to show.
    If the property is tenant occupied, it might be difficult to obtain an appointment from the tenant. In most cases, homes with a lockbox get shown more often than those without.
  • Unsuitable to show.
    Sometimes sellers put homes on the market before they are ready to let buyers see it. They might be finishing resale repairs or painting during the first 30 to 60 days of a listing.
  • Reduced commission.
    Although buying agents are required to show all listings, many agents refuse to show homes that don’t pay the same commission as competing homes. Often these homes are listed by discount brokers.
  • Little Internet or MLS exposure.
    If the home has one photograph in MLS, buyers are likely to pass on the listing and instead choose homes to see that have multiple photographs.

How to Buy a House – Finding Out the Cumulative Days on Market

Some MLS systems refuse to let agents withdraw a listing and enter it as a new listing without first canceling or expiring the listing. In either case, it is relatively easy for an agent to determine the number of days on market; it’s not so easy for a buyer.

  • Check Listing History.
    One way is to enter the address of the property into MLS to find duplicate, expired or withdrawn listings. In the Sacramento MLS, this is known as pulling the “history” of the property.
  • Look for Cumulative DOM.
    Some MLS have changed the way listings are reported and will include cumulative days on market in the listing itself.
  • Ask Your Agent.
    If you are working with a neighborhood specialist, your agent will have a fairly good idea if the home has been listed before, for how long and by whom.
  • Ask the Listing Agent.
    Since real estate agents cannot misrepresent a property, you might ask the listing agent a direct question. Do not ask how long the home has been on the market because there might have been a price reduction, so the agent will feel justified in telling you the days on market at the new price. Ask if it has expired / withdrawn / canceled and then relisted. Be specific.
  • Search Online.
    Enter the property address several different ways into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. All of its previous online listings should pop up.
  • Ask Neighbors.
    Neighbors know everything that goes on in their area and often are more than happy to tell you how long a home has been on the market.

 

When thinking about how to buy a house, buyers figure the longer a home has been on the market, the more eager a seller is to sell. If the seller is eager to sell, the seller might be willing to negotiate a much lower price. So, you can see how this piece of knowledge is useful to buyers.

 

 

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793                       Email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

Presented by KensHomesales.com

 

 

 

 

Buyer Resources for Buying a House in Harrisburg PA

Buyer Resources for Buying a House in Harrisburg PA

The home buying process is exciting, but serious enough to deserve special attention and preparation. There is more to it than searching for the right home. For buying a house, you’ll need to consider neighborhoods, schools, market values, the condition of the home, various inspections, your mortgage, title insurance, property insurance, and of course closing. Even experienced buyers can find this complex process a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry. I’m here to help. I will guide you every step of the way. You can use this site to help educate yourself on the process of buying a house. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about buying a house. I’m happy to help you.

 

 

Is this a good time for buying a house?

YES! It is an excellent time to purchase your next home. Interest rates are at historical lows giving you more purchasing power. Due to increased cost of land development and home construction, prices are lower today than what they will be tomorrow. If you are looking to purchase a home, you may have an opportunity to purchase more home for the money if you act now. For example, if home values increase 5% over the next year, a $100,000 house will be $105,000, a $300,000 home will now be $315,000. Plus, interest rates could be higher which would increase your mortgage payments even more. It’s also a good time to sell. There are ample buyers to purchase homes that are priced correctly, staged appropriately, and properly marketed. I can help guide you through the home buying and home selling process.

 

What is a buyer’s agent and why do I need one for buying a house?

A buyer’s agent is a licensed Realtor whose loyalty and fiduciary responsibility is to the buyer. A buyer’s agent can more fully advise buyers in all areas of the home buying process including proper handling of contract negotiations. As your buyer’s agent I will:

  • Explain steps and costs in advance
  • Guide you – so you’re prepared
  • Conduct home searches for you
  • Show you available homes
  • Advise you about market conditions, pricing, and financing
  • Represent you in negotiations with Sellers, Lenders, Appraisers,
    Inspectors, Insurers, etc.
  • Manage your transaction – Mortgage, Insurances, Inspections,
    Repairs, Warranties, dozens of other details
  • Accompany you at final inspection and closing

If you’re not a represented buyer, by law, a Realtor can’t advocate for you. Contact me at n717 514-1793 and we will review Pennsylvania’s Consumer Notice which explains the ways a real estate agent can represent you.


Should I get pre-approved for a mortgage before buying a house?

It’s certainly a good idea. You can apply for either pre-qualification or a pre-approval. A pre-qualification is an informal opinion from a lender. A pre-approval is a more formal written approval for you stating that you qualify for up to a specific mortgage and interest rate. A pre-approval requires more data from you but offers the following benefits:

  • Sellers will look at you as a stronger buyer. If the seller has more than one offer, this could help yours be more attractive.
  • You have a definite picture of what you can reasonably afford. You won’t waste your time inspecting homes you can’t buy.

I can help you find a reputable lender who will provide you with a pre-qualification or pre-approval


Can I preview my credit and correct mistakes before buying a house?

ABSOLUTELY! It is surprising how many credit reports are wrong . . . over 40% by some estimates! You may avoid de-railing your transaction with a time-consuming credit hassle by reviewing the report up front. You can order a copy of your own credit report by calling the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian at (888) 397-3742, Equifax at (800) 685-1111 and Trans Union at (800) 888-4213. Or, you can call the Annual Credit Report Request Service at 1-877-322-8228 for a free credit report from all three of the above sources. Understanding a credit report can be very complicated. I can help you with this process by connecting you with a loan officer who is an expert in this area.


How do I go about buying a house,  if I have to sell my existing home first?

Most of us cannot afford two mortgage payments; we need to sell our current home before completing the purchase of our next home. In a marketplace where there is a good supply of homes for sale, it’s probably best to market your home successfully first. Then you enter the marketplace as a stronger buyer. None the less, you may find your next home prior to marketing your current home. I can help you choose from several different options in this case so that you can still have your dream home and avoid a double payment situation.


Should I have the home inspected before buying a house?

In most cases, a property is purchased in its present condition! Many buyers are surprised to find that if a problem arises after settlement, the problem is theirs. As a buyer, you should consider hiring a home inspector who is trained to look for defects. The most common types of home inspections are general house inspection, wood destroying pest and organisms (termite) inspection, radon inspection, on-site septic inspection, and on-site water inspection. When you are ready to make an offer on a home, I’ll explain the different types of inspections you may wish to have. I can recommend a home inspector if you’d like help finding someone.


Should I buy a home warranty when buying a house?

There are reasons to purchase a home warranty, and there are circumstances where a home warranty may be less important. What I can tell you is that 75% of home buyers use their home warranty within the first year. The initial term of a home warranty is one year. Thereafter, renewals can be purchased. Some sellers provide home warranties as part of the sale. Under those circumstances the home warranty is included in the sale. I can help you determine if a home warranty is a good investment for you.


How do I go about making an offer when buying a house?

You may want to make your offer subject to certain terms or contingencies, including securing financing, the sale of your current home, or inspections. I can help you understand your options and responsibilities. As a skilled negotiator, I am able to represent your best interests when speaking to the seller’s agent.


When should I get homeowner’s insurance.. before or after buying a house?

It’s important to begin looking for homeowner’s insurance as soon as the agreement of sale has been accepted. Not all insurance companies insure all types of properties. For example, some carriers won’t insure a property with a flat roof, others do. If you wait too long to find insurance and run into any difficulties, you may not be able to get insurance in time and this may negatively impact your ability to close.


What is title insurance and  do I need it when buying a house?

Imagine one of these nightmares:

  • An ex-spouse of the 3rd prior owner claims a continuing interest in your home because he/she did not sign off on the deed 10 years ago.
  • A Lender to the 2nd prior owner asserts a claim that their loan was not paid off when the property was sold 6 years ago and they want their money.

A title insurance provider seeks to discover these “defects” by searching public records about the property. They also provide you with insurance – if they missed something, they step up to handle your defense and cover your costs. Also, your lender will require that you provide title insurance from a reputable company at settlement. I can recommend a title insurance provider for you prior to buying a house.


Understand the seller’s list price before buying a house

Many factors influence the price that a seller expects to get for their home. While only you can decide how much you feel comfortable offering for a property, I can gather critical information for you regarding the factors that impact how much you should consider paying for the home. These factors include:

  • How long the home has been on the market
  • If the price has been reduced
  • The prices for other comparable homes in the area
  • If there are multiple offers being communicated
  • Other items that might be included in the sale – furniture, hot tub, etc.
  • The number of homes that are on the market and the amount of time it’s taking them to sell
  • Whether the seller is offering buyer incentives


What are closing costs when buying a house?

Closing costs are fees and expenses paid in conjunction with the purchase of your home. The amount of your closing costs will depend on your transaction and your lender. If you obtain a mortgage, the lender will collect a credit and appraisal fee and may charge you loan origination fees and document preparation fees. Should you use a low down payment, the lender may require you to pay for mortgage insurance. Your lender will require title insurance. Title insurance is based upon the sales price of the home. Your settlement company will collect notary and recording fees. If you haven’t paid your homeowner’s insurance premium prior to the closing, this will be an expense at closing. Transfer taxes can range depending on the municipality in which you are purchasing. In most of South Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, the transfer tax is 2% of the sale price. Typically, the buyer pays half of this tax. Real estate taxes are typically pro-rated, reimbursing the seller for the taxes they have pre-paid. Depending upon the mortgage program, you may be required to start an escrow account with the lender for future taxes. In some cases, sellers have agreed to pay part or most of their buyer’s closing costs. I can help you understand these costs and can provide suggestions to reduce your closing costs. In addition to my suggestions, you will be receiving closing cost estimates when you submit your offer for buying a house, and when you apply for your mortgage. This is all done so that you know what to expect at the closing.


What happens at the closing when buying a house?

The terms “real estate settlement” and “closing” mean the same. It is the meeting where the seller conveys the ownership of the property to the buyer. A settlement officer, either a title company representative or the buyer’s attorney, will conduct the closing. Many papers need to be reviewed, signed, notarized and witnessed. Among the documents you will be asked to sign is the mortgage, the mortgage note, other lender documents, buyer’s affidavit, utility cards, etc. Once you’ve paid your down payment and closing costs and the seller has signed the deed, you will become the official owner of your new home. I’ll walk you through what to expect at settlement and answer any questions you may have.

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

How to Buy a House in Harrisburg PA – Step 5 – Know Your Property Taxes

How to Buy a House in Harrisburg PA – Step 5 –  Know Your Property Taxes  Taxes in Central Pennsylvania fall into two categories. If you want to know how to buy a house, an important step is learning about property taxes.

How to Buy a House… Know your Income Taxes

Pennsylvania is unique in that you must pay Federal, State, and Local Income Tax.  Federal Income tax is variable.  State Income tax is equal to 2% of your salary and the local income tax is between 1% and 2% of your salary.  You will need to file three separate tax returns, annually.

How to Buy a House - Know Your Property Taxes

How to Buy a House…Be Aware of the Occupational Privilege Tax (Derry Township)

The Derry Township Board of Supervisors approved replacing the township’s $10 occupational privilege tax with a Local Services Tax (LST) and increasing the tax rate to the annual maximum of $52 effective January 1, 2009.  The new tax is applicable to all employees who work in Derry Township. 

How to Buy a House…Real Estate Taxes

Real Estate Taxes are assessed only if property is owned in a township.  A tenant who rents an apartment or home does not pay Real Estate Tax.

How to Buy a House…Personal/Occupation Taxes

The Personal/Occupation Tax is levied in many, but not all, townships or boroughs in Pennsylvania.  All individuals residing in the respective townships are required to pay the Personal Tax.  The Personal Tax is not determined by where the individual is employed.

Examples of Personal/Occupation Taxes in some communities:

County – Township Personal/Occupation Tax Per Year
 
Dauphin County
Conewago Township $265
Derry Township (Hershey) $450 ($200 paid in Spring, $250 paid in Fall)
East Hanover Township $265
Harrisburg City Variable (approximately $250)
Hummelstown Borough $310
Lower Paxton Township $265
Middletown $295
South Hanover Township $265
Swatara Township $265
 
Lebanon County:
Palmyra Borough $10
Annville Borough $300
Lebanon $10
North Londonderry $10
 
Lancaster County:
Elizabethtown $0

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have 40 plus years of experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

presented by KensHomesales.com

What Is a Home Warranty and Why Do I Need One?

What Is a Home Warranty and Why Do I Need One?

Your home is probably your single biggest investment.  For most new home buyers the last thing they need to worry about is an unexpected repair that can seriously strain their budget.  For peace of mind and as added protection against anything major that might go wrong with a home’s major systems, it’s a good idea to get a home protection plan.

It safeguards you against the financial strain of a major repair and for first-time homebuyers that have little or no experience in maintaining a home, this can be a real lifesaver.

What exactly is a home warranty?  It’s actually a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of most of a home’s major systems.  Most home warranties will cover the plumbing, electrical, and  heating systems of the home and also some of the home’s major appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens.

The way it works is that the home warranty company contracts with local repair companies and servicemen to provide service.  If something breaks you call the home warranty company and they send an insured and approved contractor to do the work.  In most cases, you’re only out-of- pocket expense will be a small service charge to the contractor. All other work and replacement parts are assumed by the warranty company.   If it becomes necessary to replace any appliance or system, they will replace like with like or, in the case of a discontinued item, with the next closest comparable item.

If, as a seller of a home, you offer a home warranty to your buyer, then the coverage offers protection for the home the entire time it’s on the market  from the time it’s listed until one year settlement.  This gives buyers extra confidence in the real estate transaction; since they know that if anything goes wrong while the house is under contract, the home warranty company will fix it.  They don’t have to rely on a seller who might avoid investing more money into a home he’s trying to sell.

The best source for a Home Warranty company would be your Realtor since he deals with these companies daily and know which ones are the most popular ones with his home buyers.

As a Realtor I generally encourage both my home sellers and buyers to invest in a home warranty.  They range in price between $350-600 /yr depending on the company, location and coverage. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Harrisburg PA Real Estate Expert

Ken Huebsch is your premier real estate agent in the Greater Harrisburg area.  I am a specialist in Harrisburg real estate  as well as the communities of Palmyra, Hershey, and Hummelstown.  My wife Leslye and I have a combined 40 plus years experience serving our clients -We KNOW Harrisburg. When you plan to buy or sell Harrisburg area real estate, allow us to work for you.  We are dedicated professionals and are here for your success.  For more information on how we can best serve your real estate needs, please complete our online contact form or give us a call.  Also, check out what our fabulous clients have to say about us on our testimonials page!

Cell: 717 514-1793
email: mailto:Ken@KensHomesales.com

Presented by KensHomesales.com