With over 20 years of experience, I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people find their ideal homes! From looking for their dream home to relocating and even to downsizing, I have been able to walk through and help many people with their home-buying needs. And now I get to help the next generation embark on the same journey! This blog is a compilation of helpful information that I have learned over the years that pertains to buying a home in every stage of life, and I hope that you can get some amazing value from it!
House-hunting can be an overwhelming process, especially if you’re buying a home for the first time.
You have to think about the location of the property, square footage, layout, finishes, flooring, and the big one: getting a mortgage. The list seems endless. And while this process is exciting, it can also be exhausting. How do you even know where to start?
Whether you’re hunting for your very first home or if you're experienced in buying houses, the process will be much smoother if you have a plan and a house-hunting checklist.
If you’re getting ready to jump into the real estate market, here are 7 things to do before you start!
7 Things To Do Before You Start House Hunting
1) Get Prequalified for a Mortgage
First things first: don’t go house shopping without getting a mortgage pre-qualification.
Have you found a house online that you’re just dying to see? Don’t pull into the driveway until you’ve talked to a mortgage broker first.
There’s nothing worse than putting in an offer on your dream home only to find out you don’t actually qualify to buy it. That’s unnecessary frustration not only for you but for the sellers and realtors as well.
It will also give you the advantage if you are able to walk into the sellers with not only an offer but also a prequalification.
2. Make a Budget
You should decide ahead of time what amount you’re comfortable with paying per month for your mortgage. Then go to your bank for your pre-qualification letter. Experts say that a good mortgage payment should be 25% of your take-home income to avoid becoming house-poor or getting into too much house for your situation.
Hopefully, you have a budget already and know what will work for you and what won’t. But if you don’t, now is the perfect time to start one. It’s important to do before you have a mortgage payment!
A budget is important because by using one, you’ll always know where your money is going. If you currently use one, then you’ll already have a good idea of how much you can comfortably afford.
And remember, don’t get starry-eyed and blow your budget if your loan officer tells you you’re qualified to purchase a more expensive home. Know your max, and stick to it.
3. Find a Diligent, Experienced Realtor
The next step is finding an experienced realtor who will work for you. You want someone who will stand up for you in the final walk-through or at the closing table if something doesn’t go right.
You also want someone who has lived in the area you are looking in for a long time. You want a realtor who knows the market and who is knowledgeable about the costs of home repairs and upgrades. A good realtor can point out problems with potential homes before you get too attached to them.
One of the best ways to find someone who will work hard for you is to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. There are many good realtors out there, but there are also some bad realtors as well. You want the realtor you choose to work for you. If your realtor isn’t working for you, find a new one. There’s not a shortage of realtors these days, so make sure you are happy with yours.
4. Make a List of Needs, Must-Haves and Wants
Before you look at any houses, make a list of your needs, must-haves, and wants. This way, if you get overwhelmed after seeing too many homes, you can simply refer back to your list and remember what it is that you’re looking for. This will also be helpful to have for your realtor to reference as well.
5. Choose Your Location
It’s going to be really hard for your realtor to show you the best housing options for you if you don’t know the area you want to live in. You’ll end up all over the place if you don’t decide beforehand.
If you aren’t sure about your specific location, spend some time in the areas you’re interested in at different times of the day to get a feel for the area. Good times to visit are rush hour times and nighttime.
Afterward, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel safe there?
- Is there an abundance of traffic at rush hour?
- Is it on a busy road?
- Does the neighborhood look clean and well-kept?
Choosing a set location ahead of time will help narrow down the list of properties you see. It will also help you avoid seeing tons of houses that are in a less than desirable location.
6. Save an Emergency Fund
If you don’t have an emergency fund saved yet, buying a house isn’t a wise option. Houses mean constant maintenance, even if you buy new. You don’t want to be caught without heat in the dead of winter just because you can’t afford to fix your furnace.
You also don’t want to be forced to pay for it on a credit card when you realize you really can’t live without heat.
Don’t put yourself in this position and end up sinking. Save for emergencies.
7. Leave Your Emotions Out of It
Buying a house is an emotional process, but you have to do your best to keep your emotions out of it before you make a hasty and unwise decision about a house that’s financially out of your reach.
Buying a house is a business transaction, so play it cool and keep your emotions in check. You’ll be thanking yourself later.
Even though it’s hard to keep emotions out of it, you need to in order to keep yourself from making a bad decision that could end up affecting you for years, and cost you a ton of money.
No matter what you do, try to make house hunting a fun process, because it should be. It’s not every day that you get to run around shopping for houses, so try to enjoy it! If you follow this checklist, then your house hunting process will be easy and painless.
Click below for an in-depth look at the Treasure Valley Home Market Statistics for September 2018! You can always find the most up-to-date information that you need to know on the #KelleySimonSays blog!
You may be looking to see your home this fall. And when it comes to curb appeal, little things go a long way. All of the details that go into your home’s exterior and surroundings can make or break your potential buyers’ first impression of your home and, in an instant, sway their decision to look inside or move on to the next house.
According to a recent seven-state survey of attendees at consumer home and garden shows, you can increase the value of your home by 10-12 percent with even modest upgrades in landscaping. On a home selling for $200,000, that’s an extra $20,000 in your pocket!
But landscaping can get expensive fast. Luckily, there are some inexpensive ways to tweak your landscaping and boost your home's curb appeal this fall! Here are three game-changing curb appeal tricks you can try that are cheap and really turn the heads of potential buyers!
Tip #1-- Mulch Liberally
One of the very first and easiest upgrades that you can do is to mulch or re-mulch. Mulching garden beds and weeding is very inexpensive and will return very well while giving your home that fresh pop of color!
The best part about mulch is that you don’t actually have to do much to your garden besides dumping a fresh bag of the stuff. Fresh mulch gives the appearance of a well-maintained outdoor space without actually costing you any time or hefty landscaping expense.
Tip #2-- Edge Your Lawn
Much like buying mulch, edging your lawn is another inexpensive landscaping trick that will really make a difference in the overall appeal of your home and property. Never used an edger before? Think of it as a haircut for your lawn if your lawn had messy bangs. Edgers do exactly what they sound like they would, allowing you to clean up bits of lawn that overflow onto walkways and into the road.
Tip #3--Add Lawn Props
Ever seen those brightly colored plastic flamingos and lawn gnomes people leave out? What we’re talking about isn’t quite so tacky, but it still runs along the same lines of adding some inexpensive flare to your property.
Tweaking existing aspects of your house is a great way to do this. For instance, if you have fence posts or columns in front of your home, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in giving your home a new look. It will add a bit of texture and draw people's eyes.
Another inexpensive trick is to upgrade small home details that might have fallen into disrepair or ones that make the home look antiquated. You can choose what to upgrade by approaching your front door with the mindset of the buyer, and upgrading whatever immediately falls in your line of vision (and needs the most help).
One example might be the house numbers by your front door. If your house numbers are the brass ones from the ’80s or ’90s, update your them to something modern and striking or sleeker-looking and small.
Lawn props and flare don’t have to be expensive upgrades. You can purchase house numbers for $10-20, and materials to create or upgrade posts or fencing are similarly priced.
Getting your home's curb appeal up to par this fall doesn't have to be an expensive or daunting task. Just try some of these tricks and watch the value of your home go up!
Boise is the fastest growing city in the US according to Forbes magazine. And with all of this growth, there are countless attractions to be enjoyed here as well! Let's take a look at the wide variety of things that there are to do here in Boise!
1) Boise River Greenbelt
The Boise River Greenbelt flows through Boise and provides more than 25 miles of beautiful, scenic paths for biking, hiking, and jogging.
2) Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
This memorial is a must-see if you are in Boise! Inscribed with dozens of inspirational quotes about human rights, this memorial is a highly-recommended, tranquil and reflective place to visit.
3) World Center for Birds of Prey
Experience birds of prey eye-to-eye and explore the mysteries of their flight, survival, and relationship with humans. Live bird demonstrations and falconry heritage tours complement hands-on exhibits for all ages! Enjoy panoramic views of the Treasure Valley from the interpretive trail and gazebo, or browse the gift shop. Admissions and purchases support conservation programs worldwide.
4) Old Idaho Penitentiary
In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most desperate and mean criminals the West could offer. In 1973 the Idaho State Penitentiary closed to inmates, but now their doors are open for visitors to explore over 100 years of Idaho's unique prison history. Open year-round, visitors of the Old Idaho Penitentiary can walk through solitary confinement, cell blocks, and the gallows. Visit today and relive the Old Pen's exciting past!
5) Ridge to River Trail System
If you're looking to get out and enjoy nature, Ridge to River Trail System is the place for you! Bike trails wind through beautiful Idaho landscapes. The staff at Ridge to River is dedicated to their trails, and are extremely committed to their goal of providing quality trail opportunities for the citizens of Boise and the greater Treasure Valley.
6) Idaho Botanical Garden
Cultivate. Educate. Celebrate. Enhance your community and enrich your life. The Idaho Botanical Garden is a lush 15-acre tapestry of dappled shade and vibrant splashes of color. A peaceful haven nestled in the Boise Foothills, located in the heart of Old Penitentiary Historic District.
7) Basque Museum and Cultural Center
The Basque Museum and Cultural Center is a wonderful museum full of rich history! If you want to learn about the history of Basques in the American West, there is no better place to go than here!
These are just a few of the many different attractions that the beautiful city of Boise has to offer! Check some of them out today!
As the school year is getting ready to gear up, take advantage of these last couple weeks of summer by packing the kids up and enjoying some time on or in the water at any of the many water attractions that Boise has to offer!
- Enjoy some fun rafting, tubing or kayaking on the Boise River!
- Eagle Island State Park is a great place for a wonderful time of swimming or fishing. You can also enjoy their waterslide all day long!
- Since 1985, Cascade Raft and Kayak has been offering the best in Idaho whitewater rafting trips. They offer a wide variety of whitewater rafting trips, and you can trust that they will have a trip that will be perfect for you and your family!
- Lucky Peak State Park is the perfect place for swimming, fishing or boating. Sandy Point, the base of the Lucky Peak Dam, is popular for its sandy beach and clear cool water. Spring Shores offers lakeside access for water enthusiasts by providing two boat ramps, parking, a marina, on-site watercraft rentals and a convenience store. Sandy Point is just a short 10-minute drive from Boise and Springs Shores Marina is 40 minutes away.
- Wahooz and Roaring Springs Waterpark are great places to wrap up the summer fun! Between all the attractions of Wahooz and Roaring Springs Waterpark, the 8th Best Waterpark in the USA, there's no chance that you'll leave here without having had a blast!
Send out the summer with a bang by visiting any of these places and having a blast as a family!
Kel & Company
Silvercreek Realty Group