Being a first time homebuyer can be an intimidating prospect; it seems like there’s so much to learn! The process doesn’t get less challenging the second or third time around, but here are five tips to help you research and prepare for your next home buying experience.
Location, Location, Location
It’s a cliché but it’s true: location really is the most important part of the real estate equation. However, the right location isn’t the same for everyone. Take your family’s priorities into account and know where you would buy a home, and where you would not. Try to be flexible, but if you’re longing for a place with a yard, then a balcony might not cut it, however a roof deck might! Always look for the exception to the rule. It’s also a good idea to compare home prices around the home that you’re considering. This will help you figure out if your house is a good deal and in line with the market expectations.
Find Your Financing
Finding the perfect house can take years, but once you find it things will move quickly. Most real estate markets are fast moving and a great house at a great price can easily go on the market in the morning and be under contract by the evening. When you find that house you have to be ready to jump on it. This means that you should have your financing figured out before you make an offer. Ask friends, family, any law or finance professionals your family uses, or ask your REALTOR® for a recommendation for a mortgage company. Be sure to get quotes from several different firms so you have a general idea of what your rates really should be.
Understand the Vocabulary
You should take the trouble to educate yourself about some of the jargon that comes with the real estate territory, otherwise, you might find yourself completely out of your league when discussing purchasing terms.
Check out the Neighborhood
If you’re looking for homes outside of the neighborhood you live in, the best way to get a feel for it is to go and spend the day there. Find a few open houses you’re interested in and go make a day of it. Have lunch, stroll the streets, check out the parks, schools, and find out what kind of people live there. These are the things that give a neighborhood its flavor, and things that you can’t know until you go there and see for yourself.
Choose a Trustworthy Agent
A real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. If you don’t have an agent you already know and like, ask for recommendations, check local ratings sites and ask around. This can be a very personal relationship, so if you find an agent you believe in, hang on to them!
Buying a home is an exciting and stressful process, but with these tips, we hope you’ll have a great experience researching, shopping and purchasing your next home.
~ I would help in any ways I could to get something like this in the Inland Empire ~
One guy designed and built a custom bottle cap bar top that would become the centerpiece of any room.
He and his friends and family saved 2,530 beer caps over 5 years specifically for this project. The caps belong to domestic, craft, and import drinks.
“The initial concept was to lay out an image comprised of bottle caps,” he said. “Then reality set in and we opted for the much easier gradient effect.” The selected sequence is called ROYGBIV (a sequence of hues, commonly described as making up a rainbow: rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).
It took at least 4 hours and several restarts to get the desired pattern. “Initially I was being pretty anal about cap alignment, color disbursement etc. In the end, we decided to introduce entropy and New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk, which I feel was the secret ingredient.” Everything was then covered with 5 layers of epoxy resin and voila! A perfect conversation starter for any indoor party.
More info: Imgur
One creative man decided to redo his kitchen, making its countertop the most impressive feature
He and his friends and family collected 2,530 caps over the course of 5 years to make it happen
The production started with sorting out the caps by hue: “Basically tried to bucket them into ROYGBIV,” he explained
“Two large pieces of quality 5/8″ plywood form the base. The rails are 1 1/2″ poplar and were notched with a table saw and hand routed”
“Painted matte black with several cans of Rustoleum. The finish does not have to be perfect since it will be covered in epoxy”
“[But] it needs to be as close to perfectly level as possible, otherwise, the epoxy resin will “pool” in low spots”
“The initial concept was to lay out an image comprised of bottle caps, then reality set in and we opted for the much easier gradient effect”
“This is <…> resin, which fills any available airspace. It was better to just pour the resin slowly making thin layers, not thick enough to cover the caps”
“It took ~5 layers to thoroughly cover the caps”
“Visually, we felt it would be more interesting dispersing various caps to add pops of color”
“Here you can see how we laid them out allowing the caps to “flow” into each other, rather than having hard color stops”
“I am so proud of this project. It is a real conversation piece and we did it together, true DIY”
Warning: Property taxes are due April 10.
Before you search for the bill and the checkbook – and perhaps express a few choice nasty words aloud about the financial pinch – let me make you extra grumpy.
While Prop. 13 may keep California property taxes low for many folks, the overall financial burden remains relatively high. My trusty spreadsheet tells me we’re 10th worst among the states.
Let me tell you how I got to that conclusion.
My quest to gauge the proportional size of property taxes started with a recent study by WalletHub that dared to rank states by income tax burdens. It’s no easy chore, since not only do state taxes vary, many municipalities tack on their own levies. So, getting any sense of complete tax costs is a tricky exercise. But let’s see what WalletHub found.
Start with ranking effective tax rate, that is, the size of your bill vs. how much your home is worth. California’s Prop. 13, which limits jumps in rates and assessed value, helps property tax burdens in the state appear relatively low by this measure.
California’s 0.81 percent effective rate, by WalletHub math – that’s 81 cents per $100 of assessed value – was tied for 17th lowest among the states. That’s not bad. It’s not Hawaii at 0.27 percent, the national low. But it ain’t close to the worst of the lot: New Jersey, 2.35 percent, Illinois, 2.30 percent, and New Hampshire, 2.15 percent.
Now that effective tax rate is charged against the property’s value. Property valuations for tax purposes are part science, part art, and part political. Obviously, the tax collector wants the highest valuation to take in the most cash. One must admit that Prop. 13 is quite good at keep taxable valuations low.
Still, California housing is pricey. And by WalletHub’s calculation, the median value in the state was $385,500 last year. That was the nation’s third highest.
So, that high value translated to a typical California tax payment of $3,104 a year, or the 11th worst among the states.
You can dream about paying a common Alabama levy at $543, or be thankful the mailbox doesn’t contain a bill for a typical property in New Jersey ($7,410), Connecticut ($5,327), or New Hampshire ($5,100.)
But I took this math exercise further because I wanted to see how much of an average family’s cash goes toward property taxes.
My trusty spreadsheet tells me that when you compare California’s median household income of $64,500 – 10th best nationally – to property tax bills, you find the burden equals 4.8 percent of the household pay. That share ranked 10th worst among the states. (Psst! Texas was 12th worst at 4.6 percent.)
Want to pay less? Move to the national low in Alabama where these taxes run 1.2 percent of incomes.
Want to feel better? Imagine paying property taxes in New Jersey (10.3 percent); my home state of New York (7.6 percent); or Connecticut (7.5 percent)!
So maybe it’s not just California’s fine weather that draws so many transplants from the Northeast!