Janice Walker's Blog
Buying a luxury penthouse isn’t just about finding one perfect thing about it. Several other factors come into play when deciding where you might live for many years. If everything isn’t just right, you may end up with buyer’s remorse. Buying a penthouse is different from buying a house in that you have to share several features with others.
The most important part about finding a great luxury penthouse is the location. You could have a luxury penthouse in a part of town that isn’t the best. While you might be safe in the building and your penthouse, your vehicle might not be quite as safe. And, when you have guests, you don’t want the outside of the building and the area around the building to look trashy, even though the inside is ultra-luxurious.
The view goes right along with the location. You are paying top dollar for the penthouse. You should have some benefits for the price you pay, even if money is no object. A building might have a great view on one side, but if your penthouse is not on that side of the building, you won’t get the view. Be sure the view isn’t overlooking a bad part of the city. Not only will you be looking at an eyesore, but the sounds and smells could keep you from enjoying the penthouse.
Your penthouse should have a good-sized balcony. If you want to grill out or just sit outside and get some fresh air, you won’t have to go all the way downstairs to do it. The balcony should have a sturdy railing, the cement or wood should be in good condition and it should not smell. Previous owners could have let their animals out to do their business on the balcony instead of walking them.
The Floor Plan
As with buying a house, a penthouse should have a floor plan that is perfect for you. If you enjoy entertaining, pick a floor plan that has enough space, preferably an open plan for the living room, kitchen and dining room. A split floor plan is also nice, as it separates the master from the other bedrooms and gives you privacy whether you have kids or have guests that stay over. If you have guests that stay over, you might look for a floor plan that includes more than one master suite.
In some cases, a penthouse may not have convenient parking, whether the parking is outside or in an adjacent building. The penthouse you choose should have parking in your building. Also, management should allocate plenty of parking for guests. You would need at least two spaces for yourself if you have a family and drive two vehicles. Guest parking should also be in the same building.
So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.
Choose a Certified Residential Specialist
A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.
To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:
- Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
- Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
- Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor.
While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person.
Choose an Expert Communicator
Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included.
Find a REALTOR® Who Cares
The REALTOR®you choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose.
Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job.
Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.
Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.
In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.
Home equity and market value
As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.
Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.
However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.
How to build equity
The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.
One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.
The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.
What can I use home equity for?
The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.
Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.
If you own lots of items and plan to buy a house in the foreseeable future, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. That way, you can simultaneously eliminate clutter and earn extra cash for your excess items.
Ultimately, selling items online before you pursue a home can be simple – here are three tips to help you showcase your unwanted items online to dozens of potential buyers.
1. Provide Relevant Information in Your Item Listings
Find out as much as you can about any items you decide to list online. Because the more information you can provide to prospective buyers, the easier it becomes for a buyer to determine whether a particular item is the right choice.
There is no need to stretch the truth in your online item listings, either. If you provide accurate, relevant information, you can help a buyer make an informed decision.
2. Add High-Quality Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for those who list items online. Thus, if you add high-quality photos to complement your online listings, you can instantly show off your items to large groups of prospective buyers.
You don't need to be an expert photographer to take high-quality photographs of your items. If you use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, you should have no trouble capturing top-notch images that you can upload onto a computer without delay. Then, you can add these photos to your item listings and help buyers see exactly what you have to offer.
3. Be Ready to Respond to Concerns and Questions
If a buyer has a concern or question about an online item listing, you should be ready to quickly connect with this individual and provide him or her with the requested information. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the process of getting rid of unwanted items.
As you start selling items online and get ready to search for a house, you may want to find a real estate agent as well. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert housing market assistance as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.
A real estate agent is happy to guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey. First, he or she will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and meet your desired criteria. Furthermore, if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if your offer is approved, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can finalize your home purchase as soon as possible.
Don't wait to get started on the homebuying journey – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest for your dream house.
Finding the right vacation house is rarely simple. Dozens of quality vacation residences are available in cities and towns nationwide. Yet if you make even a single mistake during your search for the ideal vacation residence, you risk making a poor property buying decision.
As you get set to begin a search for a vacation home, there are many things you can do to boost the likelihood of finding a residence that matches your needs. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you conduct a comprehensive – and successful – vacation home search:
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
Prior to launching a search for a vacation house, consider the features you want in your dream residence. Then you can hone your search for vacation homes that fall in line with your expectations.
Crafting a list of vacation home must-haves usually is a good idea. This list can focus on distinct features you want to find inside your home – from a modern, state-of-the-art kitchen to a spacious master bedroom. It also can focus on home exterior features like a beautiful front yard or a large driveway.
2. Determine Your Preferred Cities and Towns
Once you know what you want to find in your ideal vacation residence, make a list of preferred cities and towns. With this list in hand, you can focus exclusively on vacation houses in cities and towns you know you will enjoy.
Before you craft a list of preferred cities and towns for your vacation home search, it is important to remember that house prices vary nationwide. Thus, it often helps to take a look at home prices in various cities and towns. This will give you an idea about the average price range for houses in different areas.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you want to streamline your search for a vacation home, it typically helps to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support as you navigate each stage of the vacation homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to share his or her housing market knowledge with you. First, he or she will learn about you and your vacation homebuying goals. A real estate agent next will craft a custom strategy designed to help you achieve your homebuying goals as quickly as possible. Finally, you and your real estate agent can put this plan into action.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides when a homebuyer is ready to submit an offer to purchase a vacation house, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help a homebuyer put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if a seller accepts this offer to purchase, a real estate agent then will guide the buyer through the final stages of the homebuying journey.
Take the necessary steps to find your dream vacation home – use the aforementioned tips, and you could accelerate your quest to discover a vacation residence that suits you perfectly.