Heads Up: 5 Things A First-Time Homebuyer Should Know

The process of buying a home is complicated, especially for first-time homebuyers. As a buyer’s agent, you should ensure your buyers know enough about the process to make smart decisions.

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Existing-Home Sales Can’t Catch A Break

Existing-home sales have continued to deteriorate in the face of a persistent housing shortage, quickly rising home prices and added stress due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

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Make Their Jaws Drop: 6 Starter Tips For Drone Marketing

Many online property listings have photos that fail to highlight the positives, often due to limited spatial ability.

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3 Reasons Why Refinancing Should Stay Top-Of-Mind

We all know that buying a home requires maintenance.

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Renovation Stories: A Minimalist Mid-Century Modern in Washington, DC

When Dave and Jackie began looking for a home in the Washington, D.C. area, they wanted a modern home with lots of natural light and clean lines.

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7 Reasons Locals Love Coastal Virginia

It’s always been popular with military families. What makes coastal Virginia popular with new homebuyers?

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Upsizing On The Upswing: The Big Decision More Homeowners Are Making

Downsizing? That’s so 2016. Housing trends and consumer research indicate a move toward upsizing as homeowners transition to larger dwellings.

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5 Things To Expect From A Good Mortgage Banker

Buying a home is a big deal, and requires a lot of organization, communication, and decision making. Whether you’re doing it solo, or you’ve got a significant other to help you along, the mortgage process can be less stressful with one, specific person to guide you: your mortgage banker.

Many homebuyers associate the home buying process strictly with the real estate agent — a key player in your journey to being a homeowner, but the mortgage banker is the other key player who helps you through the financing aspect of the process. With the proper help from these two individuals, you can go through a smoother home buying process.

You likely already know a real estate agent’s role in the home buying process — they provide guidance and assistance in your home search, find the right home for you that fits your budget, negotiate with the sellers, etc. But what about the mortgage banker?

A mortgage banker acts as liaison between you and the lender and helps you find a mortgage option that’s in your best, long-term interest, while facilitating the origination process.

But not all lenders, or mortgage bankers, are created equal. There are certain things mortgage bankers should be doing to help you through your home buying process, and extras to make it a more enjoyable experience. If you know what to expect, you can ensure you’ll find a mortgage banker that’s the right fit for you. Here’s what you should expect from a good mortgage banker in the home buying process:


It’s much more beneficial to work with a mortgage banker who respects transparency and is able to deliver news, whether it’s good or bad, as soon as they get it. With the industry ever-changing, having that information quickly available, no matter what, shows your mortgage banker has your best interest at heart. They can also be transparent about what you qualify for versus what you’re really comfortable paying every month. Even if you qualify for more, they can suggest a loan amount that’s better suited for your unique financial situation, rather than focusing on their commission.


This is kind of a two-way street. You should obviously feel comfortable asking your mortgage banker any questions you have about the process, any documentation required, timing, etc. But a mortgage banker should be asking you a lot of questions, as well. After all, how can a mortgage banker find the best loan product for you, if they don’t really know you?

Here’s a few question topics to look out for:

  • Work-related questions: “Where do you work?” and “How long have you been working there?”
  • Debt-related questions: “What recurring debts do you have?” and “How much do you pay for loans a month?”
  • Asset and saving-related questions: “How much do you have saved up in your bank account?” and “Do you have additional assets elsewhere, and if so, how much?”
  • Down payment-related questions: “How much do you have saved up for a down payment?” and “What are the sources for the down payment? Is any of it gifted?”
  • Loan-related questions: “Are you planning to purchase a home or refinance?” and “Are you an active military member or veteran?”
  • Property-related questions: “Will this home be a primary residence?” and “Do you have a property in mind already?”
  • Family-related questions: “Are you co-borrowing and/or co-signing?” and “Do you have children or dependents?”
  • Long-term questions: “How long do you plan on staying in the area?” and “Where do you see yourself/your family in the next 5 – 15 years?”

All of these questions are important to ask because it provides the lender with a picture of who you are, your lifestyle, your future, and your financial situation; including how much you could comfortably afford.

For the complete article, please see the original article on AtlanticBay.com, by clicking HERE.

All In The Family: Multigenerational Living Makes A Comeback

It was the cycle that defined American life for decades. People got married, bought a house, and started a family. The kids grew up, left the nest, and didn’t come back. The empty nesters then downsized to a smaller place to enjoy their golden years. Their kids eventually started families of their own, and bought their own homes. And so it went. Instead of the circle of life within a household, it was more like a straight line.


But in recent years, the line has begun curving again. This entrenched societal pattern is becoming upended in favor of a mode of living that harks back to an earlier era.


Fueled by economic and cultural factors, a growing number of people are moving back in with their folks, or opening their homes to their aged parents. It’s a large-scale change making its impact felt in all corners of the real estate market—and American life itself.


Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now living in a multigenerational household—a household with two or more adult generations, or grandparents living with grandchildren—a level that hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1950. About 60.6 million adults, or 19% of the population, were residing with their family in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of census data, up from 57 million in 2012.


Rising home prices, staggering child care expenses, college debt, longer life expectancies, and the growth of ethnic communities in which extended families traditionally live together are all fueling this shift. And as people become accustomed to this style of living, it’s altering the way they buy and build their homes, and how they plan for the future.


Modern homes built for many generations


With buyers seeking homes and renovations to suit multigenerational lifestyles, builders and developers are responding to meet the demand—and a lucrative new market.


While cottages, casitas, and apartments over garages are still part of the picture, so are fully decked-out homes with ample square footage and a separate wing for the extended family. Many of these homes have modern amenities such as dual thermostat controls so the whole family doesn’t have to swelter when Grandma catches a chill.


Tracy Elkins, 39, lives with her husband, their three kids, her mother, and three dogs in one of the Next Gen line of homes from Lennar, the nation’s second-largest homebuilder. In their open and airy 6,100-square-foot home, the in-law suite is no afterthought: It has a separate living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, laundry, and private garage with a separate entrance. Lennar describes it as “a home within a home.”


The Elkins decided to partner with Tracy’s mother to buy the Thornton, CO, home in August 2016, when the Elkins’ landlord decided to sell their rental home. Tracy’s 63-year-old mom was retired, and the purchase seemed like a logical move.

“Even I have to admit I was a little scared,” Elkins says. “You come to a point where living with your parents is not an easy option. It wasn’t something we had to do, but it worked out really well.”


“As home prices increase, more families tend to opt for living together,” says Valerie Sheets, a Lennar spokesperson. “Everyone is looking for the perfect home for any number of family situations, such as families who opt to take care of aging parents or grandparents at home, or millennials looking to live with their parents while they attend school or save for a down payment.”


Lennar, which builds homes in 19 states, is offering Next Gen homes in 36 key markets. The blueprints vary by market, but they generally offer the main home and an adjacent unit with private living room, bedroom, bath, laundry, and garage.

“It has great benefits. There are some people who can’t live with aging parents in a traditional setup,” Elkins says. “If it wasn’t for this home, I probably wouldn’t want to live with my mother either.”


For the complete article, please see the original article on Realtor.com, by clicking HERE.

4 Ways Relocation Experts Aid Out-Of-Town Buyers

In today’s highly competitive job market — where 68 percent of HR professionals are experiencing difficulty recruiting candidates — companies cannot afford to limit their recruitment to local candidates. This is where relocation comes into play.


Companies want to ensure that job candidates are sold on every aspect of the organization — including the ZIP code.


That’s why HR departments and recruitment firms have started to partner with real estate agencies that specialize in relocation to take on the role of selling their city.


I can tell you from experience that the partnership just makes sense. As the owner of a St. Louis-based real estate agency, I know that most candidates from other areas of the country have never been to our city.


Other than the occasional national — and sometimes negative — news story, they often have no idea what to expect. It is our job then, as a team of St. Louis experts and advocates, to show them why they would love to live, work and play here.

There are a variety of ways real estate companies and relocation experts can help recruit out-of-town candidates for their partner organizations. Here are five of the most common, and most successful, tactics:


  1. Advocate for the community


The real estate agent should demonstrate genuine city pride. Great relocation partners not only love and appreciate the city they are selling but also participate in the community.


Top-tier candidates are, after all, intelligent individuals who will likely see straight through a phony, rehearsed “here’s what makes our city great” spiel.


But when the relocation expert is constantly involved in exciting events throughout the city, it’s impossible for them not to be passionate about it — and that passion is contagious.


  1. Know a ton about the area


In addition to finding a new home, relocating also means new schools, doctors, hair stylists, childcare, athletic teams, summer camps, grocery stores, etc.


Fortunately, real estate agents with a relocation specialty are not only knowledgeable about the homes they are showing and the housing market, but they can also act as incredible resources when it comes to life in the community.

We can guide candidates throughout the various decision-making processes and let them know that they will have a well-informed ally — even after they have committed to the position and made the move.


  1. Make personal connections


The things that sell one candidate on a city aren’t always guaranteed to appeal to the next. That’s why a critical step in any good relocation specialists’ process is to really get to know the candidate and his or her family.


This involves much more than reading their resume or bio; it means taking the time to sit down with them for a meaningful conversation.


What is most important to each member of the family? What are their hobbies? Are they in school? Will they need to find new jobs? Are they religious? Do they have any special needs?


Here’s an example of why this step is so important: One of our partner organizations once had a candidate whose daughter did not want to move, so we arranged for her to meet a local violin teacher because we knew she was passionate about the instrument.


The daughter fell in love with the teacher and was soon in full support of the move, so the candidate took the job. It was a win-win.


For the complete article, please see the original article on Inman.com, by clicking HERE.