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Budgeting for a New Home? 3 Unlikely Costs to Consider in Your Overall Budget
By Peta-Gay
April 11, 2016

If you're planning to buy a new home in the near future, you're probably working hard to prepare a budget and determine how much you can afford before you start viewing homes. While it's good to have an idea of what you can pay for a new house, many buyers routinely miss several key home buying costs that can later cause a variety of problems. Before you start looking for your new home, make sure you add these three commonly forgotten costs to your budget.

Title Insurance: Critical Protection Against Title Claims

Title insurance is something that most buyers forget about until closing, but it's a necessary form of protection for every soon-to-be homeowner. Title insurance provides you with protection against financial losses in the event that you later discover title defects. For example, title insurance can protect you from losses in situations where the seller doesn't actually own the home, where there is a lien on the property, or where a previous owner accidentally omitted or deliberately falsified critical property records.

 In a standard real estate contract the seller will pay for the buyer's title insurance, but in most states, the buyer is also required to buy title insurance to protect the mortgage lender. Title insurance for lenders usually costs, on average, $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Unexpected Renovations: Home Inspectors Aren't Perfect

Typically, your home inspector will alert you to any issues requiring renovation or repair before you buy your new home. But if your home inspector is negligent and misses a critical problem with the home, you may need to find money for surprise renovations – and fast.

While you can file an insurance claim or sue the inspector for negligence in order to recoup damages, court cases and insurance claims take time – time that you may not have if you're facing an urgent home problem. Most real estate agents suggest budgeting 1% of your home's budget each year for maintenance costs.

Initial Interest: Your First Month Comes Due Fast 

Your mortgage starts accruing interest on the day you close the home sale, not on the day you move in. That means if you sign the contract on March 15, you'll need to make an interest payment for the period of time lasting from March 15 to March 31. Your payment will then come due on April 1 – so be sure to include your first interest payment in your closing costs.

Buying a home isn't cheap. But when you clearly understand the various costs involved, it's easier to plan your home purchase and budget for expenses, both expected and not. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more about home buying costs.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Investor Thoughts: What Home-buyers Can Learn from a Real Estate Investor's Stand-point
By Peta-Gay
April 14, 2016

There are plenty of things to consider when purchasing a home, from the size of place that you're looking for to the amount of home you're able to afford. While it's certainly worth knowing what you want going in, here are a few factors that investors often think about when it comes to making or breaking the appeal of a real estate purchase.

Will The Location Last?

'Location, location, location' is a popular expression for a reason, and it's among the first things that any person purchasing a property will consider when they think about long term-investment potential. It can be easy to think that a currently trendy community or beachfront property will always be a great investment, but trendy places go out of style and sea levels can rise. An investor will want a location that's ideal, but they'll also consider what the area's future might hold.

Are You In A Bubble?

If you've found the perfect home to live in and are considering an offer, you may not be too worried about it's selling potential a few years on. However, if you're buying in a bubble, your price may be inflated, and this can cause problems if you want to make a profit in five years' time. Real estate is on the up and up all over the world, so a true investor will consider if the market value will continue to rise or if it's readied for a considerable economic setback.

Will It Survive The Trends?

The market for condos is certainly booming right now with the rising price of real estate, but many people are also choosing to move away from urban centers to buy a little bigger and start a family. Whether it's open concept or a sizeable townhouse, it can be tempting to buy the type of home that is hot right now, but these trends may not be so popular in the coming years. Instead of going for flash, consider what will always be in style or can at least be easily renovated.

The most important thing when purchasing a home is buying a place that you can feel good about, but real estate investors know that there are a number of important factors to consider. If you're currently on the market for a new home and are weighing your options, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

5 Documents First-time Home-buyers Need for a Smoother Purchasing Process
By Peta-Gay
April 1, 2016

With all the work that goes into finding the kind of home you'll want to put an offer on, it can be easy to forget about all the little things that happen after the deal has been made. While the paperwork involved in purchasing may seem like a long way off, here's a quick review of some of the documents you'll need when the time comes to seal the deal.

Your Credit Report

It's important to review your credit before putting an offer in, so ensure that you request your credit report in advance and review it for any errors that may be present. If there are any discrepancies negatively impacting your credit score, you'll be able to have them corrected before they can cause an issue with your real estate purchase.

Pay Stub Proof

In order to ascertain your ability to pay off your monthly mortgage, you will need to provide at least two pay stubs from your current place of employment. You won't want to give away your originals, but a photocopy of your last two paychecks usually serves as adequate verification.

Recent Bank Statements

The number of bank statements required to prove your credit history may change depending on the lender you're dealing with, but you'll probably need photocopies from the last two to three months. This will be a means of proving your financial health as well as your ability to pay your monthly mortgage in the event of interest rate hikes or other fiscal setbacks.

Tax Return Copies

Your federal tax returns will provide further proof of your employment and financial standing, so the last two years of these – complete with your signature – will need to be submitted. Keep in mind that any schedules you've filled out to complete your yearly returns should also be included.

Additional Asset Statements

In addition to recent bank statements, if you have any stocks and bonds, mutual funds, RRSPs or other investments, you should also provide statements of proof for these. While these accounts will only require your most recent statements, they will be beneficial in providing a more comprehensive picture of your finances.

There are many aspects of purchasing a home that can be time consuming, but having the documents you need beforehand can save a lot of stress when crunch time comes. If you're planning on purchasing a home soon, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

5 Easy Ways to Brighten up Your Curb Appeal
By Peta-Gay
April 4, 2016

It can be easy to forget, but the first thing people will see when they come to your home is the outside, so it's important to have a well-maintained and picturesque property that represents the inside of your home positively. If you're looking for a few ways to boost your outdoor space, here are a few tips to help with curb appeal.

Plant A Flower Bed

Whether you decide on a tiny plot or a much larger space, a splash of flowers is great for adding a warm, homey atmosphere to your front yard. This can easily be done by going to your local nursery, picking out some easy-to-maintain perennials and watching the blooms begin to appear.

Trim The Hedges

It's entirely possible that you have a few trees or shrubs in your yard that have gotten a little bit unruly, but a little time with the snippers for some shaping and the look of your yard will be automatically improved! If you have any shrubs or small trees that have seen better days, you may want to remove and replace.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint

It's quite common to hear how much a layer of paint can improve things but this is especially true when it comes to your front door. While a tired and dull looking door can reflect poorly on the house within, a new coat of paint will add instant shimmer to your exterior.

Keep It Tidy

Whether you have kids who love to play in the yard or you've been doing a little lawn maintenance, leaving out toys or shovels and wheelbarrows can really take a lot away from your property's look. While you may only be planning on keeping these items out for the short term, a quick pick up at the end of each day makes a marked difference.

Make A Stone Pathway

It may not be something you need, but a whimsical walkway with flattened stones can add a nice touch to your property and make it stand out. If you're feeling ambitious, you may even want to add a bench or a birdbath to make for a unique escape for your family.

There are a lot of simple fixes you can utilize that will instantly boost the look of your home's exterior. If you're fixing up the outside of your home in the hopes of putting your property on the market, you may want to contact one of our knowledgeable and trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

5 Fun Ways to Spring Clean with the Kids
By Peta-Gay
April 5, 2016

Spring-cleaning might seem like a necessity if you've accrued a lot of stuff through the fall and winter seasons, but it can be hard to determine how to get your kids involved. If you're looking for tips on how to get this task done and engage your children at the same time, here are a few fun ways.

Play Some Tunes

It goes without saying that almost everything is more fun with music, and kids will readily agree with this! Instead of silence, pique your children's interest with their favorite album and encourage them to take the duster or mop along with them.

Offer Up A Reward

It's important that your children understand that helping out around the house is everyone's job, but offering them a treat can be a good means of getting them involved. Whether it's a couple of dollars or a trip to the ice cream parlor, a little work for a reward has always been a positive thing.

Give Them A Choice

Most kids don't like to be told what to do, so providing them with the opportunity for leadership can be a great thing when it comes to the task of spring-cleaning. Not only will they be happy to help you along if they can direct, it will give them confidence in their own capabilities.

Make Room For New Duds

Getting rid of old clothing isn't always fun, but if it makes way for a new outfit or toy many kids will spring at the chance. Instead of large scale, let your children tackle their own space to clear away stuff they no longer use. It will make them aware of what they need and what they can get along without.

Get Out The Gear

Outside of a damp cloth, most adults don't have any specific clothes for cleaning the house, but dressing up is always a fun activity for kids! Whether it's overalls, a cap and some rubber gloves, making cleaning a game of dress up is an easy way to appeal to the imagination of your children.

Spring-cleaning may not always seem like the most fun, but these are a few simple ways you can make it appealing to your kids and liven up an old activity for yourself. If you're perking up your home in the hopes of a summer sale, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com