If you’re ready to sell or buy a home, you will need a competent real estate agent to guide you through the process. With so many agents out there, how do you know which one will be the best for you? Much like dating, you may have to try out different people to find an agent who “clicks” with you. Read on to learn how you can find a good match.

Most real estate agents will have an online presence in some way, whether they have a profile on their realty page or are active on social media. Read the ratings of several agents who pique your interest. If the reviews are generally positive, that’s a strong indication that they have the skillset of a strong salesperson. Searching for agents on real estate sites is a quick and easy way to pinpoint local representatives and to request more information on their services. Some reputable sites to begin your search include Realtor.com and Zillow.

Your friends and family members may be the best source for getting recommendations on which agent to choose. There is nothing more valuable than a word-of-mouth appraisal, and a real-life referral will give you more detail than any online review can. Other agents are also a rich source for referrals. If you’re interested in a niche market or are moving to an unfamiliar area, contact your previous agent and see what connections they have.

As a client, you have every right to interview potential agents to find out more about what they have to offer. It’s wise to interview at least three to build a pool of candidates. Being able to meet face-to-face will allow you to ask detailed questions about their experience and get a feel for their personality. Make sure you discuss how they usually communicate with clients; an agent that primarily emails might not work for you if you prefer to text. Additionally, feel free to ask for and follow up with their references. During the buying and selling process, you will be frequently interacting with your agent, so your compatibility with them should not be overlooked.

Another good way to meet real estate agents is to attend open houses. Going to open house events will allow you to assess how the agent interacts with potential buyers and how knowledgeable they are about the house they’re showing. You’ll be able to see them in action and decide whether you would want to work with that person. Many people find their next agent at an open house, so give it a try!

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed or lost when trying to find a real estate agent. There are several ways to weed out those who might not be a good fit for you, though you will need to do some research to discover whose personality and expertise will fit your needs. A reliable agent is indispensable regardless of whether you are buying or selling; you’ll be glad to have a consultant by your side.

If you have any questions or want more information about finding the right real estate agent, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying or selling process, click here to get started!

New Year’s is an ideal time to make resolutions to hit the gym, eat healthier, and make better choices. For many homeowners, the process of making their home marketable can feel overwhelming, and the prep stage often gets put on the backburner. Why not resolve to make 2020 the year to get your home ready to go to market? Here are some ideas to get you started.

A clean home is a happy home! Use the new year as an excuse to really give your home a deep clean and get rid of unnecessary items. When your home looks clean, it gives a positive impression that you take care of your property. Along with eliminating your home’s dirt and grime, take a moment to go through your belongings and get rid of things you don’t need anymore. Try starting with one room and sift through it thoroughly. Beginning the cleaning process now will not only make your house less cluttered, but will also reduce the amount of packing to be done once your home is sold.

Despite the popularity of house flipping reality shows, many people will not be attracted to homes that need heavy repairs or upgrades. A home that needs major fixes means the buyer will have to invest even more money into the purchase, and that can make a sale less likely to happen. If you needed another reason to get problem areas fixed, improving utility issues can increase your home equity. Take action to get everything in your home in working order before it opens to prospective buyers.

The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see when your home is on the market. If they aren’t intrigued by the outside, they may not want to look at the inside, either. You don’t need to do any fancy landscaping, simply mowing the lawn and trimming overgrown vegetation can do wonders. Additionally, consider giving your house a fresh coat of paint if it’s looking faded.

Before you officially declare your home for sale, it’s important to find a realtor who understands your needs and can help you get the best price for your home. An experienced agent will be able to guide you through the selling stage and know how to market your home. You may have to try out a few agents before you find one that’s a good fit for your situation, but having a competent agent is well worth the search.

Figuring out how much your house is worth and how much you could potentially make from a sale can be a bit confusing. Work with your agent to perform a competitive market analysis to get an estimate of your home’s value. Once you have an idea of its value, you and your agent can discuss an ideal selling price.  Finding that sweet spot for your asking price will help optimize future profits and attract buyers.

Don’t feel like you need to fulfill all these resolutions at once. Start with one and make it your goal to work your way through them. In no time, your home will be ready to show off to prospective buyers. What better way to start the new year than to make your home the best it can be!

If you have any questions or want more information about the home selling process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!

If you’re looking to buy a new home, you may have considered purchasing a brand-new home, rather than one that has already been built. There are many benefits to buying a new construction home, but there are also many factors to consider when you are making your choice. If you are looking to buy a new home, these tips can help you make the right home purchase decision for you.

  1. Get pre-qualified – Whether you’re purchasing a custom-designed home for you and your family, or a home in a newly-constructed subdivision, you will need to make sure you have been pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will help you save time, and make sure that the home you’re building, or the homes you want to look at, are within your price range. Your lender will also be able to put you in touch with a qualified real estate agent to help you during the next step in the process.
  2. Make sure it’s really what you want – As with any major life decision, it’s important not to rush into buying a new home. Weigh the pros and cons of buying new construction versus buying an existing home. For example, if the new development is farther away from the city, will this affect your commute? Do you like the way that modern construction looks? If you have a view, will it still be there in 5 years? Are you comfortable with the extra work that may be involved in landscaping a newly built home? These are all important factors to consider when deciding whether buying new construction is right for you.
  3. Do your research – Before making any commitments, it’s important to research the builder that is building your potential new home. Know their reputation and ask for client references. Visit other communities that they have built in. Research the neighborhood too; drive around, visit model houses, research zoning laws, and talk to locals. Your real estate agent will be able to provide you with insight into the neighborhood(s) you are interested in as well, and will have other recommendations.
  4. Ask about the HOA – If the subdivision you’re looking at has a homeowners’ association (HOA), you will want to ask the builder for the HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). This will tell you about things that the HOA may or may not allow in the neighborhood – and some of those things may be a deal-breaker for you. Additionally, find out what the HOA dues are, and when you are expected to start paying them.

Buying a new construction home can be a great investment. Your home’s design and layout will be new and up-to-date, and you will have some say in the home’s design, the fixtures, and the overall look of the house, to help make it more “yours.” But it’s important to make sure that you know everything associated with buying a new home before you make the decision. If you have more questions about buying a new construction home, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!

Last week, we talked about the second step in the home purchase process: choosing your loan type. Once you and your lender have determined the type of loan that will best suit your needs, the next step is to begin your home search. This may be the most exciting part of the process, and it can be easy to get caught up in that excitement. It’s important to make this decision carefully, consider your options, and to work with knowledgeable professionals who can help you make the best choice.

Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent will be your guide through your home search, so he or she should be someone that you can trust. Hire a Realtor who takes time to understand your needs and to explain anything that is unclear. The right agent will help you enter the process prepared and confident.

“It’s very important to work with a real estate agent who first consults with you to find out your needs,” says David Bonanno, California Branch Manager with NFM Lending. “Home buyers are our lifeblood and who we serve. We have to know what their wants, needs, and budget are.”

For more tips on choosing a real estate agent, click here.

Choosing a Home
There are many factors to consider when looking for a home. Plan carefully and talk to your real estate agent about the following things before beginning your home search:

“Everyone thinks buying new is the best way to go. What they do not realize is all the money that will be spent on the yard, light fixtures, window coverings—things that may not be included in the purchase of the home,” says David. He recommends that buyers interested in purchasing a newly built home keep in mind the extra costs associated with this kind of purchase.

Other things to keep in mind when searching for a home are your short- and long-term goals. David suggests thinking about how long you plan to live in the area, and whether you will need room to grow as your family grows. Buying a new home is an investment in your future, so it’s important to have your future in mind when you are choosing your home.

Once you’ve found the right home, you will work with your real estate agent to make an offer on the home and sign a contract. From there, you will move onto the next step to purchasing a new home: applying for your home loan.

If you have any questions about searching for a home, contact one of our licensed mortgage professionals. If you are ready to start the home buying process, click here to get started!