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Top 5 Mistakes I See Buyers Make

by Beth Jaworski

I work with a lot of 1st time buyers. I really love this, as I love their energy and excitement. I also must have an educator gene somewhere, as I love teaching them about the home buying process, and about homes (architecture, mechanical systems, construction quality differences) in general. In nearly 20 years of selling real estate however, I have seen both 1st time buyers & repeat buyers make the same mistakes. If you are going to be buying a home soon, or know someone who is, please read the following:

1.) Don't get caught up in the decorating! This truly is the number one mistake I see. Buyers fall in love with the way the current owners have the house decorated and don't see any of the flaws of the home. It is hard to look past the way the home currently looks, but you really need to be concentrating on other items when making a home buying decision.

2.) Not paying enough attention to location. Another mistake I see made over and over. The old mantra of the 3 rules of real estate being location, location, location is so often repeated because it is true! I just had a very smart 1st time buyer tell me last weekend, "we were thinking about it, and decided we rather buy a home that needs some work in a great neighborhood, than buy a really beautiful move-in home in a so, so neighborhood." That is the way you need to think if you are concerned about resale value and/or about building sweat equity in a home.

3.) Underestimating the expense of "fixing up" a house.  This may seem contradictory, considering what I just said in #2, but I do see some buyers wanting to take on way too much work, usually because the house is such a great price for the area. This is especially true lately, with the bargain priced foreclosures available in every community. You do have to know your limits. If you have some experience with home improvement, that is one thing, but a house that has been vacant for a year or more, and neglected for some time before that, is going to take a lot of time and money to bring back. Especially if you have never owned a home before and don't know much at all about houses, you probably should stick to homes that really only need cosmetic improvements, and/or easily quantifiable mechanical improvements (new furnace for example).

4.) Not hiring a buyer's agent to represent you. This is crucial. You really need to do some research and select an agent to represent you. You should do this before you go and look at any homes for sale. A good agent will guide you through the process and make things much easier for you. A great agent will also save you time & money! Ask around for recommendations and do some online research. Sit down with a few agents for "buyer counseling" (if they don't normally do that with new buyers, move on to an agent that does). You want an agent that is knowledgeable, personable, experienced and accessible. You also want to feel comfortable with your agent, as you will be sharing a lot of information, time and trust with them. Take some time selecting the right one to help you achieve your goals.

5.) Get preapproved before you do anything else. So many people still try to skip this step, it just amazes me! It does not matter if this is your first or fifth house, nor does it matter if you are making more money than you were the last time you bought a house. Nothing is guaranteed in today's mortgage world and the seller of the house you want to buy doesn't know you at all. Take the time to get preapproved (meaning a credit check is done) by a lender you trust before you do anything else in the process. This one step will save you a ton of headaches. If you are not sure of what lender to use to get preapproved, contact some of the agents you want to sit down with and see who they recommend, then contact a lender and make sure you have your preapproval in hand before you sit down with the agents.

I hope you found this post informative. Please feel free to comment below. If I can ever be of any help to you in the future, whether buying or selling, or even if you just have a real estate question, please contact me. I love what I do and will be happy to help.

Why Work with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)?

by Beth Jaworski

Getting into the home of your dreams can be a challenge. Whether this is your first home purchase or your fifth, ensure a smooth home-buying process by working with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR).  An ABR has specialized knowledge and experience to make sure your home buying process is straightforward and successful.

The ABR designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  To learn more about the council, please visit www.REBAC.net

It is important to know that the ABR designation is only awarded to licensed real estate professionals after they complete specialized training and demonstrate experience working with buyers.  The training helps the agent to better understand the buyer’s perspective, along with how to effectively represent the buyer-client.   

Working with an ABR means your agent has chosen to go above and beyond the normal license requirements and that you will be well represented in your purchase. 

All agents who work with a buyer should do the following:

  • Ask questions to help understand your specific needs and wants from a home.
  • Help you determine how much you can afford, and assist you in getting pre-approved for a mortgage.
  • Preview properties for you, and accompany you to viewings/showings, even open houses.
  • Provide a list of qualified service providers, including home inspectors, attorneys, mortgage lenders, radon test operators, etc.
  • Concentrate on the details of the process and keep accurate records so you can focus on and enjoy your new home.

 An ABR will do even more however, including the following:

  • Help you establish the market value of the home you are interested in purchasing, by doing a comprehensive market analysis for you.
  • Help you to estimate the costs of improvements, changes, or needed repairs and/or updates.
  • Advise you in creating/making an offer on a home, along with mapping out a negotiation strategy.
  • Put your interests first throughout the process.
  • Give you advice, counsel and their professional opinion.

If you are looking to purchase a home, make sure you seek an agent with the ABR designation to help make your home-buying process easy and successful.  If you have any other questions about how an ABR designated agent can help you get in to your home, email me or call me today!

 

Extended & Expanded Home Buying Tax Credit

by Beth Jaworski

There is a lot of uncertainty and misinformation circulating about the newly extended and expanded home buyer tax credit. I will try to end some of the confusion here, by highlighting the main criteria and answering some frequently asked questions.

First of all, who is eligible? You qualify for up to an $8,000 tax credit if you have not owned a principal residence for the last 3 years (the IRS uses this definition of a "first time buyer").

You qualify for up to a $6,500 tax credit if you have owned a principal residence for five consecutive years, out of the last eight years, and now purchase a "replacement" principal residence.

I say up to because the credit is 10% of the purchase price, with a maximum of $8,000 for "first time" buyers and a maximum of $6,500 for "replacement" buyers.

There are also income requirements that all buyers must meet. A single buyer can make no more than $125,000 in "modified adjusted gross income" and those filing jointly cannot exceed $225,000. There may be a portion of the credit available to those singles filers who make between $125,000 and $145,000 and joint filers with income between $225,000 and $245,000; check with your accountant for exact amounts, if your income is within that range.

There are also a few new rules. First, the new home cannot cost more than $800,000. Also, you must be at least 18 to be eligible and lastly, anyone who is counted as a dependent on another's tax return is not eligible for the credit.

All buyers must have a written accepted offer by April 30, 2010 and must close on that transaction no later than June 30, 2010.

Once you have closed on the new home, use IRS revised Form 5405 (will be downloadable from their web site www.IRS.gov late 2009) to claim the credit.

Please feel free to contact me with specific questions. This is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the current market! 

 

 

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Contact Information

Photo of Beth Jaworski Real Estate
Beth Jaworski
Shorewest Realtors
11622 W. North Avenue
Wauwatosa WI 53226
Direct: 414.844.1118
Cell: 414.520.8555
Fax: 262.782.1551

I hope that this website was able to assist in your search for a home, or in your quest for information about buying or selling a home.  Please do not hesitate to contact Beth Jaworski of Shorewest Realtors with any questions. Email is sold@bethjaworski.com  and cell number is (414) 520-8555. Thanks!