Posted by Betsy Graziano on 7/2/2018

Searching for a new house that will meet your needs without breaking your budget can sometimes feel overwhelming! There are dozens of factors to consider and countless details to handle at any point in time.

Fortunately, there are strategies for getting it all done, maintaining your sanity, and being satisfied with the final outcome.

If you feel like you're getting off track (or can't even find the train station), here are a few tips for getting organized:

Create a priority list. If you haven't clarified and discussed with your spouse what you want and what's important to both of you, then there's a good chance you won't get it. You do not have to go it alone, though! A top-notch real estate agent can help you create a working list of priorities and preferences that you can use as a measuring stick when evaluating homes for sale. Better still, once you develop this list with your agent, he or she will have the information they need to efficiently locate properties that conform to your wish list and requirements. Your priority list will be based on a lot of criteria, including your desired lifestyle, the size of your family, and proximity to good schools, recreation, and shopping centers. If may also be important to you to live within a short drive to work, childcare facilities, or houses of worship. One of the best ways to organize your wants and needs is to get a copy of a homebuyers' "wish list" from your Realtor or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Key factors to consider when developing your list may include items like architectural style, the amount of remodeling you're prepared to do, and the size of the yard. Privacy, space between neighboring houses, and distance from busy highways are also important factors to weigh.

Choose the right real estate agent: The ideal way to find a real estate agent you'll be pleased with is to get recommendations from family, friends, and trusted business associates. If someone you know well has had a favorable experience with a specific real estate agent, chances are good that your experience would be similar. Since most real estate agents value referrals, a smart agent will strive to make a positive impression on both you and the person who referred you. It's often advisable to talk with more than one real estate agent before making your final decision, though. That way you'll be in a position to compare qualities like experience, knowledge, personality, rapport, and energy level. It's vitally important that you feel comfortable with the agent you decide to work with, and that they're responsive to your questions, concerns, and requirements.

While a "wish list" and a "must have" list are essential components of a successful real estate search, the process unfolds much more smoothly when you remain open minded, flexible, and realistic.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 1/23/2017

When shopping for a home, most people take their time searching for the perfect house. The question is, how much time should be spent searching for the right neighborhood as well? To find the superb setting for your new home, the house and neighborhood need to offer what your family desires.  The following information should be helpful when trying to determine if a neighborhood is right for you. Paint a mental picture of your perfect neighborhood.  Write a list of the characteristics your ideal neighborhood would possess, taking into consideration your long and short term needs. Then answer the following questions:

  • Do you have or plan to have children ?
  • How far are you willing to commute ?
  • How much property do you want surrounding your home ?
  • Are you looking for a rural or urban setting ?
  • Do you prefer a historic neighborhood or one with more modern homes?
  • Would you be comfortable in a neighborhood with lots of noise and activities or would you prefer a more quiet serene one?
With these questions answered you now have a clearer idea of the characteristics you want in your new neighborhood.  This should help to narrow your search area.  Start by scouting around neighborhoods that appear to fit your established criteria.  For example, search a radius around your place of employment using your determined maximum commuting distance.  You may find that an additional 2 miles added to your commute will put you into the neighborhood of your dreams. Once you have located a neighborhood that meets your specifications, it's time to dig a little deeper.  Visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and during the weekend to get a true feel for the environment. Look for the warning signs of a troubled neighborhood such as abandoned buildings, vandalism, and poorly maintained streets and sidewalks.  Talk with people in the neighborhood and see if they will share the pros and cons of living in the area. Local officials should be able to answer your questions regarding the following:
  • Population demographic
  • School system
  • Crime statistics
  • Property values and tax rates
  • Local entertainment, shopping and dinning
Choosing the right neighborhood will make the transition to a new home much easier for you and your family.  The extra time and energy spent researching will be well worth it.