Homebuyer Checklist: Find Out What Matters Most

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If you’re embarking on the exciting process of searching for a new home, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.   After all, from selecting the right location to securing the necessary financing, there are many important details to tackle.

These details can often cloud your judgment when looking at prospective homes to buy.  However, in order to be happy in your new home for years to come, you must choose a property that embodies what’s most important to you.  Organize your priorities on a list and jot down the things that matter most to you. If you have school aged children then perhaps choosing a neighborhood with a strong school system is paramount. If you prefer a commute that isn’t too taxing on your schedule, choosing something that is closer to your workplace might be a top goal. Maybe the amenities or features of your new home carry the most weight in terms of your home buying goals.

Regardless of where your priorities lie, it is essential to know and recognize them and evaluate the “absolutely must haves” against the things that are your “would like to haves”. Here are the questions that we at Amanda Howard Real Estate recommend considering and we suggest using the answers as a guide when selecting your new home:

- What part of town/neighborhood do you want to live in?
- What price range would you consider? Establish the maximum price or payment you’d consider.
- Are schools a factor and, if so, what do you need to take into consideration (i.e., the school ranking, whether the kids can walk to school, etc.)?
- Do you want an older home or a newer home (less than five years old)?
- What kind of houses would you be willing to see (i.e., ranch, two-story, split level, condo, etc.)?
- What style house appeals to you most (i.e., contemporary, traditional, colonial, etc.)?
- How much renovation would you be willing to do?
- Do you need to be close to specific locations? (Redstone Arsenal gates, Huntsville Hospital, Downtown Huntsville, Downtown Madison, Highway 565, etc.)
- Do you have any physical needs that must be met, such as wheelchair access?
- Do you have any animals that will require special facilities?
- What criteria does the lot the property sits on have to meet (i.e., acreage, fenced yard, two-car garage, patio/deck, views, etc.)?
- What criteria does the interior of the home need to meet (i.e., number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage, etc.)?
- Which of the following features of the home are most important to you?

Important!  Consider must-haves vs. would-like-to-haves:
Wall-to-wall carpet
Hardwood floors
Eat-in kitchen
Separate dining room
Formal living room
Family room
Separate den or library
Bonus room
“In-law” suite
Lots of windows ( natural light)
Storm Shelter

Answering the above questions will help you center in on what’s most important to you and what you can let go of. This exercise will also help you narrow your home search and find your new home much sooner.
As always, when you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey – we are right here looking forward to assisting you with it! Contact us today for a customized consultation of your needs so we can get to work right away.

Deciding to Sell Your Home or Rent It

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We have all heard the prevailing question “Should I buy a new home or should I rent?” but what about changing tables toward existing homeowners and asking the question “Should I sell my home or rent it out?”

It turns out that with our shifting market and the ever-changing trends from what we have seen over the past several years – we need to ask ourselves these very same questions again and this time from a different perspective. Let’s look at the four things that have a significant impact on the decision of whether to sell or rent the home out – and evaluate how each plays a role in deciding.

When we are in a market as we are in today, many buyers look at much more than just the four walls around the home they may be considering. Location is definitely a factor. And aside from the current location offerings, buyers also look at the potential of a property. So if your home is in an area where there are up and coming new schools, shopping, or something else that makes it stand out – it may be time to consider selling.

Each price range usually has a different set of market statistics, particularly in terms of how quickly and effectively the homes in that price range sell. When you are looking at selling or renting a home out, it is a good idea to also look at the current market trends of that price range. A professional real estate agent has access to market statistics directly pulled from the MLS and can provide ample insight so you can get a feel for if your home would sell or not under the current market conditions.

Condition of property
This is a big factor that will help tip the scales in one direction or the other. If the home you are looking to sell or rent out is outdated, needs some work and is generally outside the realm of what most buyers are looking for today – then there’s a good chance you will have a hard time selling. Renting the home to tenants might be a good option. On the other hand, highly desirable properties located in great areas and have all the bells and whistles that are attractive to buyers today have a much greater chance of selling.

Financial situation
A very important aspect to consider is your own financial situation. Many homeowners are in a very strong financial position and have the choice to do whatever they like with their properties. Others, however, are bound by financial stresses that may make it difficult to do what they really want. If you are struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments but do not want to lose the home at the same time, it may make sense to rent the property out and earn enough to pay the mortgage each month or more. Conversely, with real estate being among the strongest financial investments one can make at this time, be sure to meet with your agent to explore your options and see whether there is a workable solution.
Our market today presents the unique situation where both buyers and sellers have lots of options. Either way, rest assured that there is a way to achieve your real estate goals and we are here to help you do it! Contact us today for a customized consultation.