Category: General

What All First-Time Home Buyers Should Know

Buying your first home can be fraught with trouble and expenses that could be avoided if you learn what other first-time homebuyers wish they knew going in. Here is a list to help you prepare. 

Get Mortgage Pre-approval Before Looking for a Home 

Don’t get attached to a particular home to buy before you are preapproved. Getting pre-approval for a mortgage tells you what you can afford. It also speeds up the offer and purchase process and helps sellers take you seriously over other offers that still require approval. You could lose out on a home if you must wait to get approved.

Monthly Payments Are as Important as the Total Home Price

When assessing the affordability of a home, even if the price fits your approved mortgage amount, it’s important to figure out the monthly payments with the taxes, interest, and insurance added. First-time buyers often underestimate this and then struggle after the sale to afford their new home. 

Be Choosey About Your Lender

Make sure your mortgage lender works with and for you in a timely manner. Don’t just settle on the first one you talk to without ensuring their promptness. Compare rates and be aware that a lender who doesn’t take your needs seriously could sabotage your negotiations with a seller.

Inspections Aren’t Just a Legal Technicality

Don’t be in such a hurry for your selected home to pass inspection just so your mortgage company gives the green light. You want to dig deeper than the surface in an inspection to be sure there are no major costly issues with the house and property that you will regret later. Get a well-respected inspector to go over the home, top to bottom. Finding issues may not deter you from buying, but it may help you negotiate a better price that will mitigate the expense of getting extra repair work done after the sale.

Don’t Compromise What You Want to Save a Few Thousand Dollars

Whether you get a 15 or 30-year mortgage, a few extra grand won’t necessarily add that much hardship to the practical cost for a home that provides the size, features and value you need over time. Remember, it’s also about what you can pay monthly, which can be lessened with a higher down payment, better interest rates, lower closing costs, property taxes, and insurance. Don’t skimp on important needs, or you may grow out of the house and end up paying for another move too soon.

Be Prepared for a Wild Emotional Ride

Buying a home is a wonderful step into your independent financial goals, along with finally being a homeowner. You should also realize that many things can go wrong. Sellers can make your life difficult. Mortgage rules and paperwork is exhausting. Offers can look promising and then fall through at the last minute. Buying a home can be extremely stressful. The bottom line is to keep a check on your emotions and don’t get discouraged when circumstances change. 

Using Voila! real estate services can help you make good early decisions in this crazy seller’s market. Don’t go it alone, especially in your first time buying. Let us help you walk through the process with confidence. Remember, you don’t pay for the services of a buyer’s agent since all fees are paid by the seller. Contact us today!

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What to Expect from the Real Estate Market This Summer

The summer season is coming soon, and the real estate market is already heating up quickly. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, there are things you need to know about this competitive market. Here is what you can expect from the real estate market this summer.

Buying Real Estate

The recent pandemic slowed down homebuyer activity last year. Now that vaccines are becoming available, there has been rapid growth in home prices with a low inventory of houses in the real estate market. This can create fierce competition in suburban and medium-sized metro areas. Interest rates are expected to be relatively low.

Selling Real Estate

The summer this year is a seller’s real estate market. If you are considering relocation, this season is an ideal time to do it. During the summer, you may be able to get more for your home than you could in any other season. It is important that you do your research as you may be competing with other sellers. You may want to speak with a real estate agent to determine how housing activity and pricing are faring where you live.

New Real Estate Construction and Development

With a high demand for home buying, new construction and development in the real estate market may see a significant rise. According to the Census Bureau, there were 1,68 million authorized building permits for privately-owned housing units. Summer’s arrival creates ideal real estate construction conditions. The number of homebuyers will still outweigh the number of available homes.

Voila Real Estate Services

Summer is the best time to participate in the real estate market, whether you are buying or selling a home. Our Voila real estate savvy fanatics can help you streamline the process and get the best deal possible. Call us today to find out more about our real estate services.

The Top 3 Mistakes People Make When Selling a Home

Buying a home can be a tricky business. Mortgage rates climb and fall, the market swings from buyers to sellers to buyers again. Add in location, cost, time, and design, and you’ve got the potential for a big fat headache. That’s where we come in. At Voila, we work with you to get things right and avoid the biggest pitfalls of home buying.

The Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

  1. The first big mistake people make when they want to sell their house is, they are trying to sell their home, not a house. If you’re like most people, you’ve made plenty of good memories in your home, especially if you’ve raised your kids there. The place is filled with joy and love and leaving it can pull at your heartstrings. The trouble is your potential buyers don’t want to buy your home. They want to buy your house. All your cherished memories will go with you and the places in the house where they were created? Well, it’s time to detach. Stage your house for selling by removing all the personal items like pictures, artwork, and that bougie pink sofa you spent three months’ salary on so you could feel like you’re sitting on a cloud. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with those things, but they are your style, not the buyers. Keeping things neutral lets your buyers picture their own bougie couch in the sitting room and THAT can make the sale.

2. Another mistake people make when selling their home is thinking it will sell without any work put into repairs or upgrades. Everyone has those little projects they let slide, like fixing that broken screen and replacing the back steps that are crumbling. When you live there, you adjust to the smaller things because life is busy, and repairs cost time and money. To sell at the highest possible price, you first need to put in the elbow grease and the bucks to fix those things up. You should see every bit of the cost returned, sometimes many times over when you sell. Don’t skimp on the repairs. If people want a fixer-upper, they aren’t going to pay nearly as much money for it.

What’s the Biggest Mistake of All?

3. Thinking you need to spend a fortune on a well-known Brokerage! It’s more than likely your home will sell if it’s priced right, shows well, and has good market exposure. So really, partnering with a brokerage should be as simple as getting you the right people to achieve those goals. And do you really want to pay 6-7% commission for that? Us either. Voila is not your ordinary real estate business. We are a team of experienced, excited realtors who know the tricks of the trade to sell your home without costly mistakes. Call or text us today at 651-237-2274 to talk about how we can get your home sold for more money, all while paying fewer commissions!

Preparing to Furnish a New Home

It’s easy to get wrapped up on all the technicalities of purchasing a new home. Is it in the right location? How many bedrooms do you need? Does the property meet your aesthetic expectations? These are all important questions but there are more practical considerations that also deserve attention. 

When you move into a new property, it is time to make a house a home. You can’t do that without furnishings and any necessary electrical appliances. New homeowners often consider these needs as an afterthought. Closing the sale and securing the property takes precedent, but that is only the beginning of your journey. 

Make Furnishing Part of your Purchasing Plan

Viewing property without furnishing in mind can lead to seemingly endless headaches. The kitchen and living areas merit special attention. These are the spaces you will occupy most in your new home. If you have an idea of the home comforts and conveniences you want, make sure the property you choose is designed to accommodate those personal preferences. 

Refrigerators are a good example of a furnishing need that can become problematic. If you have a large family and need plenty of refrigeration space, take note of kitchen and garage space. It helps to bring a measuring tape when viewing properties, or ask the estate agent if there are measurements already available. This principle should apply to every functional space in the property. 

Purchasing Furnishings

It is difficult to know when to purchase furnishings and essential appliances. If you have space in your current property, store newly purchased items in a dry garage when you are nearing the final stages of a sale. Alternatively, you should pre-empt moving in by contacting your chosen retailers to ask about estimated delivery times to your new home. If you would like comprehensive advice on planning for purchasing, furnishings, and home appliances, reach out to Voila today. We Also offer Home Buyer Rebates to help cover some of the cost of purchasing a new home!

2020 Vision: What Does Your Future Home Look Like?

The events of 2020 have changed how most people view every aspect of their lives in some way, including their vision of the perfect home. While you may still have similar style and function preferences, there has been a shift in the value placed on certain home factors. Sheltering in place, working from home, homeschooling, and urban duress have all impacted what an ideal home looks like for many people. Here are a few of the features that you may want to consider when envisioning your future home. 

Space Over Splendor 

Confinement to one’s home can change your outlook on what’s important. While you once may have been willing to have less square footage in trade for more elegant surroundings, you may not feel the same after months of sheltering in place. Many homeowners are re-evaluating their priorities and wanting to upgrade to more space and less splendor – you can always remodel and add elegance down the road. 

Outdoor Living Areas

The backyard in 2020 has become more important than ever. A fenced area for the kids and pets, ample space for gardening, and home entertainment amenities are some of the features to consider when purchasing a home. When it is now your outdoor gym and family recreation area, having an ample backyard and enjoyable outdoor living space may have moved up your priority list. 

Extra Rooms and Home Offices 

2020 found many families working and schooling from home. Open floor plans and communal areas are great, but when you spend more time at home together, you need private spaces. More homebuyers are considering the need for extra rooms for home offices and studios that go beyond just the minimum number of bedrooms. 

Suburban Living 

Suburban is looking more desirable to some than it did before 2020. Telecommuting may be a permanent situation for many workers and there may no longer be the dread of a long commute. Some buyers who have sworn off suburbia in the past may now be looking at it in a different light. 

At Voila, we have the tools and technology to make finding the ideal home easier and more affordable for our clients. Whether you are looking for your first home or want to sell your existing home and upgrade to a more suitable home for the future, contact us to begin your journey. We can help you find the right future home in the greater Twin Cities metro area – call today to schedule a consultation with one of our real estate experts. 

Is There an Age Limit to Home Ownership?

We’ve all heard the saying, 40 is the new 30, but does that carry over to every area of life? We are living longer and healthier than anytime in history, but is there an age limit for a major purchase, like a home? 

I’m Too Old To…

Here’s another old saw, one that’s increasingly true: Age is just a number. Our definition of elderly is rapidly changing. People are not only living longer, they are living healthier. Generations ago, folks who made it to their eighties were usually infirm. Now, we see octogenarians running marathons and graduating from college. Advancements in medicine and in the way we understand health and fitness have given us not only a longer life, but a better quality of life. Many people who, 20 years ago, would have been considered too old to purchase a home are now buying, without considering their ages. This is good news, if you are approaching middle age and are contemplating a home purchase.

What You Should Consider

You want to buy a home. Great! But before you dive into the housing market, do some research. There are questions you must ask yourself before you sign on the dotted line.

  • Need vs. want. It’s easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles of a new home purchase. Evaluate what you need. Think about how this home will serve your plans. If you want to live in this house permanently, your needs at 45 will be different than they will be at 75. Look for a home that can grow with you as you become older. You may want to buy a home with enough bedrooms to accommodate sleepovers with the grandkids, but what if those grandkids live out of state? Make sure your home suits your daily needs before you think of your wants.
  • Don’t settle for a bad mortgage. The 30-year mortgage has been the industry standard for years. If you are in your 20s or 30s, it’s probably the best mortgage for you. But what if you are in your 40s, 50s or 60s? If you plan to pay off your mortgage while you are still working, a shorter 15-year mortgage may make the most sense.
  • What will your retirement look like? Do you plan to settle down and garden? Or do you plan to hit the road in a motor home and travel the country? Your home purchase should reflect your retirement plans. If you plan to use your retirement to travel, a large home purchase may not be right for you. 

Asking questions is the first step in your planning. If you need direction on the best path to take, give our agents a call. Buying a home can be the single best investment you can make. We can help you make that vision a reality.

Selling My Home – Should I Wait?

Open House - Voila | Real Estate Done Right

Spring is here, which typically means it’s the perfect time to list your house for sale. People are ready to head out to house hunt, after being cooped up at home during the winter. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and there is a feeling of renewal that makes home shopping so attractive. But we are not experiencing a normal spring. COVID-19 has changed the fabric of commerce in a very short amount of time. Is it still a good idea to put your home on the market? The answer: it depends.

Pros to Listing Now

Mortgage rates are very competitive right now, spurring prospective homeowners who want to capitalize on those low rates. Since low rates mean lower mortgage payments, this is extremely attractive to potential buyers. There is also less buyer competition, which means there is less chance of finding themselves in a bidding war.

Cons to Listing Now

Potential buyers are feeling the uncertainty of the job market and may be concerned about their income. This may lead potential buyers to put their plans on hold until the situation stabilizes. Social distancing concerns also make it difficult to view homes, work with realtors or mortgage companies, and feel secure in making the right decisions during this time. Buyers and sellers alike are probably concerned about safely moving during the pandemic.

Find the Right Agent

So, what’s a seller to do? The most important step in selling your home in any situation is to find the right agent. Experienced agents have the tools that are necessary to get you the price you want in the quickest time possible. COVID-19 is changing the face of real estate, but the right agent can be ready with options that still make selling your home possible. Ask if your agent is experienced in virtual tours, digital consultation and document signing options. If he isn’t, shop around until you find an agent who is well versed in technology. The uncertainty of the times we’re living in has changed the look of everything we do. Shopping, entertainment and socializing have been put on hold until we flatten the curve. Even though the prospect of selling your home looks different, At Voila! it doesn’t have to be impossible. Let’s connect to discuss your options.