There are few people you can learn better from than the ones who have been there/done that...
There are few people you can learn better from than those who have been there and done that. In her Forbes article outlining her first-time home buying experience, Julia Dellitt names a few things she did not expect during the process.
Dellitt and her family were living in an apartment, finally ready to make the big move. So, they did their homework — checking their credit, getting pre-approved for a loan, finding a Realtor they wanted to work with, and doing the rounds at open houses on weekends. On that first weekend, they made an offer, only to find the experience not quite as simple as it had looked on HGTV.
While they eventually found just the right house, here are a few things she says they learned. A big one was not even a consideration at the beginning of their house hunting expedition — transition. Because they were renters and started looking for a home about three months before the lease on their apartment ended, they assumed they’d have plenty of time to find something, and if that were not the case, they could rent month-to-month. Instead, the exact opposite happened. They ended up having to cover both their new mortgage and previous rent for a month. According to many real estate experts, this is something home buyers see as a worst-case scenario, so they don’t plan for it. Having some extra contingency funds for expenses that are more than anticipated (movers, closing costs, extra taxes, etc.) helps you avoid unnecessary financial headaches on top of such a significant investment.
It’s easy to chuckle at picky home shoppers when watching real estate reality TV shows, but when you see properties in real life, you can surprise yourself — becoming one of the very people you criticize when watching those shows. Dellitt advises would-be home buyers to stop sweating about the small stuff that can be easily fixed like ugly wallpaper, old vinyl floors or melamine counter tops, reassuring them that so much can be changed or fixed along the way.
Another thing rookie home buyers tend not to focus on is how their wish list may be unrealistic within their own budget. If you want an attached garage, a fenced-in backyard, and a downtown location, there is a point at which you may find those three things are incompatible. In the end, Dellitt and her family found a home in a quiet cul-de-sac with everything they wanted, but it was about ten minutes from the downtown area — not their original plan.
Her final warnings involve how unexpected paperwork can show up in your mailbox a while after your move — things like a request for a title abstract, or perhaps supplemental property tax bills, etc. And then there was the inspection that had been performed. She speaks of deferred maintenance items she knows she and her husband will no doubt have to address in the future — some small fixes and others will take a bit of budgeting. For the items that needed immediate attention, they negotiated with the seller and got bids from contractors.
Is the drama worth it? “Despite almost losing our home of choice, I’m so glad we stuck to our guns,” says Dellitt. She encourages first-time buyers to ask questions, even if they sound like dumb ones. Don’t get hung up on how much you don’t know. “These feelings popped up big-time during the house-hunting process, especially when I blasted our Realtor with ten questions a day via text and email. But you know what? Good real estate agents want you to feel equipped and informed...”
Source: Forbes, TBWS
Pea Pappardelle Pasta is a healthy spring time dish for you and your family to enjoy. This dish has a delicious flavor and makes for a nice and light lunch.
- 8 oz dried uncooked egg pappardelle pasta
- 6 oz fresh sugar snap peas
- 1 cup shelled green peas
- ¾ cup pea shoots
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2½ oz ricotta salata
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Serving Size: 4
Fill a large pot with water. Set stove to high and bring water to a boil. Add the snap peas to the pot and cook until they are a bright green (about 1 minute). Fill a bowl with ice water and put in the snap peas. Let them sit. With the remaining boiled water, cook pasta for 4 minutes or until al dente. Add the green peas for the last 30 seconds. Drain and cool for 5 minutes. Drain the snap peas and cut them in half diagonally.
In a separate large bowl, combine the lemon rind, juice, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. Stir mixture with a metal whisk.
Add pasta, pea shoots, and snap peas to the mixture. Toss to coat. Plate the pasta and top with the cheese and basil.
It never really ends. You move into a house and after a while, you realize there is always something you could be doing to improve your environment, make your home look more appealing, or just change things up. Even if you don’t have much of a budget, however, think of small things you can do that make a difference, both in how you live in your home as well as how it looks. Apartment Therapy’s Brigitt Earley asked a consortium of Realtors, contractors and designers to offer up the easiest and least expensive home upgrades — things that can be attacked on the average weekend.
Painting your front door is a no-brainer. But consensus tells us from this particular study that painting it black or charcoal gray adds around $6300 to its value when sold. Even if it sounds like a grim color for a front door greeting, the neutral palate seems to appeal to would-be buyers.“Adding a smart thermostat to your home is a project that will offer homeowners a projected 23 percent savings on their heating and cooling,” says one Realtor.
Since heating and cooling account for about 40 percent of your home’s utility costs, depending on the size of your home, it could pay for itself within the first year.Another Realtor in the study says to focus on the simplest visual upgrades like cleaning and painting, both of which can make a big difference. If you can’t paint an entire room, focus on door frames and baseboards to give the room a shot in the arm.
Hardware exists all over your home — from doorknobs to cabinet handles and pulls. Swapping them out can instantly make your home’s interior look better. Designers agree it’s not important to do the matchy-matchy, either, perhaps apart from matching like items. “Source unique pieces. Mixing it up adds a lot more visual interest to your home.
Faucets, window coverings, outlet covers, and even sprucing up your mailbox can add to the visual appeal of your home. In the meantime, it can make living there feel even more special. It’s important to think of a home as an entity that needs constant attention, updating, and maintenance, just as humans do.
Source: Apartment Therapy, TBWS
We at McGlone Mortgage Group are wishing you a heart-warming Valentines's Day! Below is a recipe to get you and everyone around you feeling happy and healthy.
- (2) Heaping cups of patience
- (1) Heartful of Love
- A dash of laughter
- 1 Headful of understanding
Sprinkle generously with kindness. Add plenty of faith and mix well. Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve to everyone you meet.
Finding a home, like finding the right partner, is not for the faint of heart.
For most of us, looking for the “perfect” home can be an emotional roller coaster. Like hunting online for the perfect partner in life, it’s hard to know what you’re getting even after studying the dozens of photos in any particular listing and reading all the copy contained there. A person (or a house) can look and sound so incredibly appealing on the surface, but you know better than to let the seduction of a good-looking landscape or gorgeous fireplace make you want to tie the knot without a proper courtship.
Truth be told, very seldom does everything about your proposed mate match your wish list. Things you love at first may later get on your nerves, like the bad girl/bad boy who had such a great gift of gab at first but fell flat in other ways. The key here is getting a sense of your own tolerance levels. What’s most important to you in a home? And what are the deal-breakers? If you stick to those parameters and keep these terms clearly defined, the chances are good that you’ll make smart choices.
Like dating, house-hunting takes time, during which you’ll determine the differences between your critical must-haves, the not-so-important-but-I-kind-of-want-it feeling, and the no-way-not-going-to-happen-in-this-lifetime determination. This process (like dating) can be seriously draining. There are those painful first date drills (“So, where are you from?” ; “What do you do for a living?” ; “What do you like to do in your spare time?”), which is not so different from getting in your car dozens of times to look at open houses on weekends or driving around with a Realtor who may not have your entire wishlist in mind simply because you can’t seem to articulate it until you see it.
While we try not to judge a book by its cover, like posting our profiles on a dating site, the photos we use won’t reveal how we look in the morning before we press the button on the Nespresso machine. Even the descriptions can be misleading. An “efficient” kitchen may turn out to be apartment-sized, but the photo of it was taken using a fish-eye lens. And “close to restaurants, shops, and transportation” may mean light rail cars lumber by in front of the house. Convenient, yes. But can you live with it permanently? Oftentimes we get excited about the trappings: a beautifully renovated listing with a huge backyard seems like a dream come true — until we ask what all the open space is going to be used for behind the house and the Realtor tells us a Wal-Mart is going in there. Kind of like a guy who looks like a Ken doll but asks to go dutch at Starbucks on the first date.
Then there is that “all the good ones are taken” feeling. At first, you have hope that you can find the right house because you’ve salivated over what other people somehow found all those “sold” listings look better than anything out there right now.
A good exercise is to make a list of the things you like about your current home or perhaps the one you loved growing up in. There may be features of it that you know you have to have — things like the security of a gated entry, close to places you love to walk to, a fun night scene. Oh sure — the beginning of any new adventure is exciting — decorating and organizing a new place can give you butterflies and have you watching Fixer Upper ad nauseam. But if you’ve chosen a location that is too isolated, thinking you could live with the tradeoffs of commuting (and friends and family not visiting because you are so far away), that giddy feeling can fade fast.
The gist here is that finding a home, like finding the right partner, is not for the faint of heart. It takes some savvy detective work, dedication, and a bit of risk-taking. Unfortunately, in many of today’s real estate markets you won’t have the opportunity to tour a home over and over again, seeing it at different times of the day and determining whether the initial attraction is deepening or fading away.
In that case, you just have to trust your gut, try to live with a short courtship and put a ring on it — kind of like all those World War II couples who fell in love at first sight and got married on furlough but ended up spending decades together. Timing is indeed everything.