John Mammano
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Buyers and Sellers



Buyer Articles Seller Articles

Buyers Articles

Buying your new home is a serious venture. It can be an absolute pleasure or a massive headache. Your house is not just your home, it is a serious investment in the dwelling, the area and your future.

When buying a home - you're bound to have many questions. For example, "In what area can I find a home that suits my needs?", "How much money will I need to afford the monthly payments?" and "How long will the home buying process take?"

Below are some articles that you might find useful in the home buying process. Please feel free to click on one of the links below to read more.

Buyer Articles


Advice for First-Time Buyers

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage lender and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
       
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
       
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
       
  • Representation by a Professional:  Hire your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Its important to speak with a real estate agent early on so you there are no issues with representation and agency.
       
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:         
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.         
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper.              
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.              
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.              
    5. Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
             
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light? Where would you put the TV or the couch?
       
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later. But make sure you can see yourself in that home.
           
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:         
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.     
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.              
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
       
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a John&Tommy represent you and keep track of all the details for you is a great decision. Please email us or call us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.

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How to Negotiate with Sellers

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases most people will make. In order to make the right decision the first time, potential buyers need to be prepared. Consider the following before starting negotiations:

As the potential buyer, you want the advantage. While you want answers to all your questions to the seller, reveal very little about your circumstances.

Also, do not let the seller see how much you want the property. If you appear desperate or overly enthusiastic, the seller then has the stronger bargaining position. When meeting with the seller or listing agent, keep your emotions in check.

copyright © Agent Image 2007

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Types of Mortgages

Fortunately for buyers, there are a variety of mortgages to choose from. It is in your best interest to investigate each of them to determine which is the best for your situation. You probably won't qualify for all of them. In fact, you may only qualify for one. But if you do qualify for more than one, you may save yourself money (and worry) in the long run if you do your homework before signing on the dotted line.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

Consider a fixed rate mortgage if either of the following describes you:

Get Your House Ready to Show to Buyers

A house that "sparkles" on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well maintained.

From experience, REALTORS® also know that a "well-polished" house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is well maintained, they assume that what they can't see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:

  • how much should you spend to prepare your house for sale?
  • exterior and curb appeal
  • interior appeal
Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal.
How Much Should You Spend to Prepare Your House for Sale?

 

In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive polishes and touch-ups to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.

Your REALTOR® is familiar with buyers' expectations in your neighborhood and can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made and which improvements are most effective. Don't hesitate to ask for advice.

Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal

When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home's exterior. If the outside, or "curb appeal" looks good, people will more than likely want to see what's on the inside.

Here are some tips to enhance your home?s exterior and curb appeal to buyers:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered.
  • Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.
  • Be sure your front door area has a "Welcome" feeling
  • Paint the front door.
  • In spring and summer, add a couple of pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.
  • In snowy areas, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.
  • Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.
  • Remove and repaint any peeling paint on doors and windows.
  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Inspect and clean the chimney.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  • Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
  • Reseal old asphalt.
  • Keep the garage door closed.
  • Store RVs and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Maximizing Interior Appeal

You want your home to look as spacious, bright and clean as possible. Also the home should look neutral ? without a lot of your personal and sentimental objects - so buyers can begin to imagine living there.

Here are some tips to enhance your home?s interior appeal to buyers:

  • Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage garages and move half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
  • Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.
  • Remove the less frequently used, and even daily-used items from kitchen counters, closets, basement and attic to make these areas more inviting.
  • Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter.
  • Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms: they should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free.
  • Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
  • Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.
  • Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.
  • Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.
  • If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
  • Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas.
  • Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.
  • Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
  • Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
  • Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems.

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