Julianne Krutka
Park Square Realty | 413-297-6718 | julianne.krutka@gmail.com

Posted by Julianne Krutka on 2/22/2018

After a thorough review of the real estate market, you've found your dream home. Now, you just need to submit a fair offer that the home seller will accept. Regardless of whether you're shopping for a home in a buyers' market or a sellers' market, you'll want to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer, i.e. an offer that a home seller will turn down immediately. Remember, if you want to land your ideal home, you'll likely need to submit an offer that is attractive to a home seller. And if you know what it takes to minimize the dangers of submitting a lowball proposal, you'll be better equipped to secure your dream house quickly. Making a fair offer on a home is simple – here are three tips to ensure you can avoid the dangers of submitting a lowball offer: 1. Review the Real Estate Market. As a diligent homebuyer, you've probably checked out dozens of residences in your search for the perfect home. Along the way, you might have even noticed that home prices vary depending on the size and condition of a residence. The real estate market remains in a constant state of flux, and what a home is worth today is unlikely what it is going to be worth in five years. However, a homebuyer who evaluates real estate market trends as well as prices of similar homes in a particular area should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on his or her dream house. 2. Evaluate the Condition of the Home. Keep in mind that the condition of the home may impact its short- and long-term value. Thus, you should try to submit an offer that accounts for the overall condition of a residence. For instance, a home's old furnace may need to be replaced in the near future, and doing so could prove to be both costly and time-consuming. But if you consider the cost of a new furnace installation in your proposal, you may be able to justify submitting an offer that is below a home seller's initial asking price. Or, in some cases, you may be able to convince the home seller to repair or replace this furnace to seal the deal. 3. Understand Your Budget. You've been pre-approved for a mortgage and know your budget for a new home. When you submit an offer, you should keep your budget in mind and ensure you'll be able to make the mortgage payments if a home seller accepts your proposal. A homebuyer who understands his or her budget can explore residences within a set price range. And ultimately, this homebuyer will be able to eliminate the chance of submitting a lowball offer on a house that he or she may be unable to afford down the line. When in doubt, don't be afraid to discuss your options with your real estate agent, too. This professional can offer insights into how much similar homes in an area have sold for recently, along with other housing market resources and tips to help you secure a house at a fair price. Avoid the dangers of submitting a lowball offer on a home, and you'll be better equipped to land your dream residence without delay.

Posted by Julianne Krutka on 2/15/2018

Browsing the real estate market may seem like an exhausting process, particularly for those who are searching for inexpensive properties. Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to streamline your search for a cost-effective residence.

Here are three tips that homebuyers can use to find inexpensive properties in any real estate market, at any time.

1. Check Out "Fixer-Uppers"

A fixer-upper, i.e. a property in need of substantial upgrades and maintenance, may prove to be a great value.

In many instances, fixer-uppers are priced to sell. These properties may require a lot of repairs, but homebuyers who are ready to work hard and perform a variety of home improvement projects on their own may be able to save money by purchasing a fixer-upper.

Check out the fixer-uppers in various cities and towns. By doing so, you can assess the current condition of a fixer-upper and find out how much maintenance it requires. And ultimately, you'll be able to determine whether a fixer-upper matches your price range, along with whether you're up to the task of completing myriad home improvement tasks.

2. Submit Offers on Many Residences

When it comes to buying an inexpensive home, it is important to remain patient. If at first you don't succeed with an initial offer on a home, be sure to try again.

It may take some time to find a home that corresponds with your budget. But homebuyers who are committed to exploring the real estate market are sure to find lots of properties that they can enjoy for years to come. And even though the asking prices of some homes may appear to be outside of your price range, it never hurts to ask whether a home seller will consider a proposal that is less than his or her initial asking price.

Be prepared to submit many offers on residences as you browse the real estate market for an inexpensive home. If a home seller rejects your initial proposal, don't be discouraged. Remember, there are many terrific homes that are available, and a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble discovering the right residence at a budget-friendly price.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are ready to assist you in any way possible. Thus, if you work with an experienced real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of inexpensive houses at your convenience.

Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about any properties that match your price range as they become available. Plus, your real estate agent can offer homebuying recommendations that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, ensuring that you can secure your dream residence at the right price.

Work with a real estate agent as you begin your search for an inexpensive home – you'll be glad you did. Your real estate agent will go the extra mile to help you find a wonderful house that won't require you to overspend. As a result, your real estate agent will make it simple for you to go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.

Posted by Julianne Krutka on 2/1/2018

Buying a home is a lengthy process that requires months or even years of planning. The end result, however, is to have a home you can truly call your own and to own equity that you can then use later down the road.

Figuring out the right time to buy a home can be difficult for prospective homeowners. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on your finances and personal goals for what you want your life to look like for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home in more than just a financial commitment. It also means you take on all of the responsibilities of owning that home. Maintenance, both inside and out, can take up a significant amount of your time.

Furthermore, owning a home ties you down to one area. You’ll need to determine if you’re ready and able to settle in one area for the next 5-7 years. This has implications for careers and for family life. Will your job bring you elsewhere? If you change jobs, are there ample opportunities where you live? These are just a couple of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding whether you’re ready to buy a home.

To simplify the process, I’ve created a checklist for some of the things you’ll need before you’re ready to buy a home. While this list does cover the basics, there may be other factors unique to your circumstances that you’ll have to take into consideration.

So, if you’re thinking about buying a home sometime in the near future, read on for the checklist. And, keep in mind that these are not necessarily mandatory before buying a home. But they will give you the best chance of making a solid investment and securing financial stability.

The home buyer’s preparedness checklist

  • Raise your credit score to 750 or more. A score in the “excellent” range will help you get the lowest possible interest rate on your mortgage. It’s possible to get approved for a mortgage with a score that is much lower, but a high score is ideal and can help you avoid PMI and a high interest rate.

  • Have an emergency fund saved. You don’t want to buy a house and then suddenly find yourself needing money for an emergency. Save a month’s worth of expenses before your down payment.

  • Have an active budget plan for saving up your down payment. Creating a dedicated savings account that you automatically have a portion of your pay deposited into is a good way to ensure that you meet your savings goals.

  • Bolster the case for your financial stability. Lenders will want to see that your income is predictable and regular. Keep records of your income, tax returns, and anything else that can help show that you’re making more than enough money to safely lend to.

  • Have open conversations with your family. If you’ll be buying a home with a spouse and/or children, discuss what you’re looking for in a home. This can include location, size, etc. It’s a good idea for everyone to be on the same page before you ever start shopping for a home.

  • Get preapproved. Getting preapproved for a home loan will make you a better prospective buyer in the eyes of sellers.

  • Run the numbers again. Aside from your mortgage payments, you’ll also have to pay utilities, trash removal, property taxes, and any other expenses related to the home. Make sure you can comfortably afford these while still contributing to savings.

Tags: Buying a home   checklist  
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Posted by Julianne Krutka on 12/14/2017

When a house is sold, it’s generally expected that the seller will take all of their personal belongings along with them. This includes furniture, pictures, cleaning supplies, and appliances that weren’t included on the deal. This is all in the expectation that the buyer will have a clean property to move into. 

If a seller does leave personal property behind, what are the rights of the buyer? Buyers may wonder if they can move in and actually take possession of the home if belongings have been left behind. There are a few reasons that buyers may leave property behind including:

  • The item is actually a fixture and not considered personal property
  • The item could belong to a tenant (or former tenant)

In these circumstances, each state determines different rights and procedures that must happen in order for the property to be secured without hassle by the buying party.

What If There’s So Much Stuff It Impedes On Moving In?

In the case that a seller has left so many things that a buyer cannot even comfortably move into the property, the contract may be refused. If there’s an inordinate amount of furniture, trash, and personal belongings, you certainly have a good argument to not sign the final contract for the property. Your rights as a buyer do, however, depend on what exactly was written into the purchase contract for the home you’re buying. 

Hidden Items

If an item has been deemed hidden or buried, the buyers have a different circumstance on their hands. Many times, a buyer is obligated to hang onto these items for the seller. The items were not technically abandoned by the seller to the buyer. The buyer becomes what is called a “bailor,” or a keeper of the property, who needs to be an agent in the change of possession of the items.  

Possession Unknown

If the ownership of an item is unknown, the terms of the contract are held up. Standard contracts generally state that any items left behind by the seller have been forfeited to the buyer. If the contract says nothing about personal property, the buyer generally takes on the role of “bailor” again in this instance.

If The Property Owner Has Died Or The Property Has Been Abandoned

If a property has been abandoned due to foreclosure or bankruptcy, or the property owner has died, any personal property that is left behind is a bit more of a risk for both parties. These circumstances generally state that a buyer will be taking on a property “as is” and essentially anything left is the buyer’s problem. 

If a property owner has died, the executors generally take on the responsibility of removing items from the property to be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries. Occasionally, this process doesn’t work out due to family quarrels. In this case, personal property of the seller goes into the category of forfeiture. 

Personal property is just one reason why you need to understand your legal rights when you’re buying a home.

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Posted by Julianne Krutka on 11/30/2017

What should you expect after you make an offer on a residence? There are several steps that will take place between the time you submit an offer on a house to the date you finalize a purchase agreement, including:

1. Acceptance or Rejection of Your Initial Proposal

A home seller will have a short period of time to accept or reject your initial offer.

If a home seller accepts your proposal, you'll be able to move forward in the homebuying process. Conversely, if he or she rejects your offer, you may be forced to restart your home search.

On the other hand, a home seller may counter your offer as well. In this scenario, you likely will be given a set amount of time to accept or reject the counter-proposal. Or, you may be able to further negotiate with a home seller in the hopes of finding common ground.

The time between when you submit an offer on a home and receive a home seller's response to your proposal can be stressful. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures that you'll be able to stay up to date. This real estate professional will even help you put together a competitive offer on any home, ensuring that you can boost your chances of getting an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

2. Completion of a Home Inspection

Although a home seller has accepted your initial proposal, you'll still want to conduct a thorough home inspection to identify any major property issues.

For example, if a house has a faulty roof or defective hot water heater, an expert home inspector will be able to uncover such problems immediately. That way, you can learn about issues that may impact the long-term value of a home as part of an inspection.

If you find out about major issues with a home during a property inspection, you can rescind your initial offer and walk away from a house. Comparatively, if you still want to buy a home in spite of problems that were discover during an inspection, you can ask the home seller to complete home repairs or upgrades. You also may want to consider asking for a price reduction if major home repairs or upgrades are needed.

Ultimately, a home inspection will help you make an informed homebuying decision. After a home inspection, the ball is in your court, and you can choose to move forward with the purchase of a home, revise your initial offer or remove your proposal altogether.

3. Relocation to Your New Address

The final step of the home selling process involves closing on a home and relocating to your new address. At this point, all you'll need to do is pack up your belongings from your current location and move them to your new home.

Purchasing a home may seem impossible at times, but the homebuying process often gets easier as it progresses. Plus, homebuyers who collaborate with an experienced real estate agent can receive plenty of support as they navigate each stage of the homebuying journey.

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