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Is Your New Neighborhood Safe?

How to Research Your New Community Before You Buy

Finding the right home for you and your family involves more than the right number of bedrooms and a lovely front yard; the neighborhood in which it’s located can make a huge difference in the quality of your experience in the home. The most important consideration must be the safety of the community. Not only is it a critical component of a healthy lifestyle, but it can also have a drastic effect on resale values. Fortunately, there are some strategies and tools available to help you learn about the safety of your potential new home.

  • Talk to the Neighbors – The first step in researching your new location is to talk with the locals. Start with the neighbors next door if possible, but also spend time in the local shops and ask about the community.
  • Drive through the Neighborhood at Varying Times – One visit on a Saturday morning will never give you a sense of the neighborhood. Drive by on a Friday night and weekday afternoons to learn more about the community. Watch for children playing in the parks and older couples out for a walk.
  • Use Online Tools  – There are a variety of online tools available. Crime research sites such as CrimeReports, SpotCrime, and NeighborhoodScout offer crime statistics. The National Sex Offender Public Website is another good research tool. Each city will also have a published crime blotter report available to review.

The safety and security of your new community should be a top consideration as you search for your new home. Taking the time to research the area will ensure you make the best decision possible for you and your family

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Top Tips When Buying Vacant Land

Building a new home from scratch can be a dream come true. The idea of designing the perfect property with morning sun in the kitchen and evening breezes on the deck can be exhilarating; the first step to a successful project is finding the right piece of land on which to build. This can present challenges if not approached correctly.

Top Tips When Buying Vacant Land

  • Hire Experience – More than most real estate transactions, it’s critical to hire an agent who specializes in vacant land purchases and can guide you through the steps.
  • Expect to Pay Cash – Finding a lender for vacant land can be very difficult. Those who will finance land typically require a 50% or higher down payment and above average interest rates and terms.
  • Get the Neighborhood Comps – Do not neglect to understand home values in the community so you do not over, or under, build your home.
  • Do Your Due Diligence – It is critical to research the property thoroughly. Just a few considerations include:
    o Site Surveys and Environmental Testing
    o Easements and Zoning Restrictions
    o Lot Survey and Boundaries
    o Utilities and Water Rights

Once you’ve completed these preliminary reviews, it’s time to consult with an architect and general contractor who will then begin to develop concept drawings to consider. Even at this stage, you might find that the home you want is not appropriate for the land you’ve chosen. Staying flexible is a key component to searching for land; remember that by following a few tips, you can ensure you find the right lot for your dream home.

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5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered

 

Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.

1. Can we still go see home listings in person? 

This is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already available which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs.

2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes?

Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour. Drive separately from your agent meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one
person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing.

3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period?

Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. Since every aspect of real estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to set the right expectation.

4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? 

It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections, appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow. Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.

5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? 

We all know there’s no crystal ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated
to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.

The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time.