Four Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a New Home

As the American economy continues to recover, so does the number of people becoming confident in purchasing a new home from real estate property management companies across the country. In fact, one study has shown that between May 2012 and May 2013, home sales in the U.S. grew by about 12.9% — an amazing growth. This is because owning a home carries many financial benefits, such as allowing you to build equity.

But the process of finding the perfect home for your needs from the extensive new home listings in the real estate market can seem intimidating. Whether you are considering house-hunting for beach style homes or more traditional houses, you want to be sure you’re buying the home of your dreams.

To make yourself a little more fluent in the language of real estate, be sure to ask these four questions during your search through the new home listings:

How much fixing-up will I have to do?

One of the biggest benefits of opting for a new home rather than a pre-existing home is the fact that you will have to complete little to no maintenance or repair work for the first several years of owning your house. But if you find a pre-existing house to be the perfect fit for you, it’s important to make sure you have a home inspector thoroughly look at its structure, appliances and fixtures to get an accurate picture of what things will need maintenance work.

Is it in a good neighborhood?

The neighborhood in which your future home will be located is another important thing to consider. In addition to the obvious desire to choose new home listings that are located in safe, strategically-located neighborhoods, the way a home’s neighborhood looks can also have an impact on its resale value if you choose to move again.

Is this house the right size for me?

If you’re currently single and not planning on starting a family, buying a house with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms is unnecessary. Likewise, you shouldn’t try to fit a large family into a home with only one or two bathrooms. Determine the amount of space that you and your family will need to live comfortably, and choosing the right house will become much easier.

Can I afford it?

Generally, it’s recommended that you calculate the average cost of living in the home you’re considering before you buy it. This is a great way to ensure you don’t buy a house you simply can’t afford to own, and can prevent financial difficulties later on down the road.

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Love It Or List It?

As home prices increase, homeowners have options. Some are quickly gaining back the equity they lost over the last several years. That creates opportunity to refinance, remodel, or maybe sell.

If you’re sitting on the fence trying to determine whether to list your home for sale or to stay in it, consider these important tips.

Tip 1: Do a “Love it or List it” Analysis.

On a sheet of paper write down the things you love about your home and the things that might cause you to decide to list your home for sale. Take your time doing this. Really give every aspect of your home consideration. Do you like the neighborhood? Is it where you want to stay for a long while or even retire? Is the area or your home lacking something? Could remodeling your home be the solution?

Once you do the “love it or list it” analysis, you’ll be able to identify which parts of your home are bothering your the most. With that information, you can now start to explore more options.

Tip 2: Do your research.

This applies to both options–remodeling or selling. Visit other neighborhoods that you might like to live in. Carefully explore the surrounding area, the homes, the types of people, the shops, businesses, and churches. Think about your commute. Would it be longer? Would it cost more in gas? Are there any gains to offset extra costs? Gathering these details will help you add more to your “love it or list it” analysis.

Also, invite some real estate agents to your home to get some expert advice on how much your home would sell for and how long it might take. When you get that information, it can help you determine if selling is best.

Next visit some remodeling companies. See their remodeling projects and invite their team to your house to offer their suggestions. Sometimes what a homeowner thinks is a difficult remodel is really quite simple. Of course, the opposite is true too. For instance, if a home doesn’t have the supporting structure it needs, a remodel could become very complex or, in some case, impossible, which might prompt an immediate desire to sell.

Tip 3: Have your financial records in order.

Whether you decide to remodel or sell, having your financial records easily accessible is vital. You’ll need these documents for both situations. Knowing what upgrades you’ve already done to the home will help when it comes time to sell. And, having your tax documents and other financial information on hand will help you if you decide to remodel using financing.

Tip 4: Evaluate the process.

Talk to expert listing agents and remodeling companies so that you can completely understand what to expect with both processes. If you’re listing your home, learn about the marketing process, holding open houses, showing your home, what large items might need to be removed, and the overall timing of how long you’ll need before you close escrow. For remodeling, get details about the length of the expected renovation. Will you be able to live in the home or will you have to find a place to stay? Will you use one firm to do both the design and build process? Often this is easier and can be less costly than using several contractors.

Take your time and pay close attention to all the details. Both selling and renovating a home are major decisions. Make sure you give the decision-making process ample time as well as compiling a considerable amount of research to make your final decision.


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Find Your Inspiration

The question isn’t “Should you be on social media?” The question is “How can you offer value online?”

If you haven’t already done so, pick your platforms – and be prudent. It’s better to not have an account on the latest and greatest social network than to create one and let it collect dust. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – it’s up to you where you want to start. But you have to commit.

Consider creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel, where you can post brief personal-promotion videos. You also can share videos from the RE/MAX YouTube Brand Channel on your own channel to keep it fresh.

If content is a challenge, start by sharing what’s already out there. If you’re looking for targeted consumer tips, share posts directly from “On the Move: The RE/MAX Blog” and share links to the Advice guides on


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Target Your Market

  • A survey revealed that 61% of moves are for life-stage reasons.
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2014 Expected to Have a Strong Finish

Virginia Beach Real Estate

Despite hitting a soft spot in the first quarter, Virginia Beach home sales are expected to make a strong showing in the second half of 2014, NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told brokers at the Broker Summit in Atlanta Thursday.

Yun called the past few years of economic recovery “difficult but meaningful.” Unit sales are currently down 5 percent year-over-year, but he expects 2014 to end up close to last year’s totals at a little more than 5 million units sold.

Looking at the economy is a good way to see what will happen in housing, Yun says. Gross domestic product (GDP) was negative in the first quarter, but bounced back in the second. Although Yun would like to see consistent economic growth above 3 percent – it’s currently around 2 percent. “It’s moving in the right direction,” he says. “We’ve recovered all the jobs lost in downturn and new jobs are being created.”

Another piece of good news for Virginia Beach real estate is that inventory is heading up nationwide, Yun says. The total housing inventory at the end of June rose 2.2 percent to 2.30 million existing homes for sale. Research shows that consumers feel more confortable visiting 10 to 15 homes before making a purchase decision, Yun says, and as inventories come back, so will buyer confidence and sales.Declining unemployment is a good sign for housing. However,more people are claiming disability, and rarely do they return to the workforce, Yun says. What’s more, the unemployment statistics are not considering Americans who aren’t collecting unemployment and who have essentially dropped out of the labor force.

“For your business planning purposes, you don’t want to grow for growing sake, but you can anticipate there will be more home buying act in the next few years,” he says.

Yun also made the following three forecasts:

Forecast 1: Higher inflation and higher interest rates. The Federal Reserve is planning to end its purchasing of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities in October. Yun expects interest rates to increase in 2015. He also expects Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, to increase 3.5 percent in 2015.

Forecast 2: Multi-year housing expansion. The population is on the rise. The U.S. gained 34 million people since 2000, but home sales were 5.2 million in 2000 and 5.1 million in 2013. The pent up demand will eventually equate to additional homes sales over the next few years, Yuns says.

Forecast 3: Continued inequitable wealth distribution. Household net worth is at an all time high, but only for the 10 percent of U.S. population that has investments in the stock market. At the same time, rents are rising and incomes are generally stagnant.

–By Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine
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Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers: A Cue for Real Estate?

The Millennial generation is larger than the baby boomers — 87 million versus 76 million — and they’re expected to be a huge force in the real estate market in the coming years.

Selling to Millennials

  • Generational Differences Drive Housing Preferences
  • Why Builders Are Worried About Millennials
  • Millennials Say They Don’t Want a Home Like Their Parents’

The number of households in their 30s is expected to increase by 2.7 million over the coming decade, which should boost demand for new housing, according to a housing report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Millennials are not only bigger in size, but they’re also more diverse, U.S. Census data shows. Only 56 percent of Millennials are white.

Indeed, generations are gradually becoming more diverse. Babies born today mark the first generation where whites make up only 50 percent of the population, and in a few years, white children will no longer make up the majority, according to U.S. Census data.

Last year, the most common age in America was 22 years old. Of the 4.7 million 22-year-olds last year, 56 percent were white; 20 percent were Hispanic; 15 percent were black; and 5 percent were Asian.

In comparison, there were 4.4 million 55-year-olds last year, and 71 percent of them were white; 11 percent were Hispanic; 12 percent were black; and 5 percent were Asian.

The median age of Americans is 37.6 years old, according to the Census.


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