Brenda Titus REALTORģ Broker/Owner - CENTURY 21 Classic Gold



Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 3/19/2018

Entering the housing market for the first time can be daunting, particularly for those who want to quickly and seamlessly buy a top-notch residence at an affordable price.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of navigating the homebuying process.

Now, let's take a look at three vital tips to help a first-time homebuyer acquire a residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The housing market constantly changes, and as a result, differentiating between a buyer's market and a seller's market can be tough. Fortunately, a homebuyer who analyzes the real estate sector closely should have no trouble discovering a variety of outstanding houses at budget-friendly prices.

To assess the housing market, you'll first want to look at the prices of residences that are currently available. This will enable you to better understand the prices of homes in cities and towns where you'd like to live.

Next, you should analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your region. With this housing market data in hand, you can find out whether you're preparing to buy a home in a buyer's market or a seller's one.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can prepare a homebuying budget and narrow your home search accordingly.

To obtain a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal and make an informed mortgage decision.

Furthermore, don't forget to share your mortgage concerns and questions with potential lenders. This will enable you to choose a mortgage that won't force you to overspend to acquire your ideal house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it Ė the homebuying journey can be long and arduous, particularly for a homebuyer who is exploring residences for the first time. But with a real estate agent at your side, you can remove the guesswork of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

A real estate agent is an expert of his or her craft, and as such, will do everything possible to help you achieve your homebuying goals.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying expectations. This housing market professional also will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new residences that fall within your price range and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying cycle. A real estate agent understands the challenges of buying a house and will do whatever it takes to help you avoid or overcome potential homebuying hurdles.

Don't miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream residence Ė use the aforementioned tips for first-time homebuyers, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a terrific house without breaking your budget.




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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 12/25/2017

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 12/11/2017

Searching for a house should be a fun, exciting experience. It represents an opportunity to discover a residence that you can transform into your very own home. As such, conducting an effective home search may require both hard work and patience to ensure that you can achieve the best-possible results.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you search for your ideal house, and these factors include:

1. Location

A home's location can have far-flung effects on a homeowner's day-to-day activities, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For example, a city home may provide quick, easy access to a wide range of attractions. On the other hand, this home may be located near major highways, which could create traffic problems for those who need to commute to school or work regularly.

As you search for your dream house, consider where you want to live both now and in the future. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you may want to pursue houses in big cities. Or, if you prefer the serenity of small town living, you can search for a top-notch home in the suburbs.

2. Home Condition

It is paramount to assess a house's condition. Otherwise, you risk making an offer on a home that may have many "hidden" problems that probably will need to be corrected in the foreseeable future.

A home requires maintenance over time, and an older house may be more susceptible than others to costly, time-intensive structural problems. Thus, depending on a home's age, you may need to account for many potential upgrades sooner rather than later.

It also may be worthwhile to find out which home upgrades that a home seller has already completed. If a seller recently replaced a house's roof or heating and cooling system or performed other major home upgrades, you may be able to reap the benefits of these house updates for years to come.

3. A Home's Price

The initial asking price of a home rarely, if ever, is set in stone. Therefore, if you find a house that is priced above your budget, you may be able to negotiate the house's price with the seller.

If you find a house that you want to buy, it helps to submit a competitive offer right away. This offer should account for the age and condition of a house, as well as the current housing market's conditions. And if the offer meets a seller's expectations, he or she should have no trouble accepting the proposal.

Lastly, if you need help searching for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new houses that become available, provide plenty of homebuying tips and suggestions and help you submit an offer on your dream house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying questions, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.





Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 12/4/2017

Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house thatís right for you. Thereís always a fear among buyers that they didnít look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A sellerís market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, youíll need to move to make an offer on it! 


The Average Buyer


People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property thatís right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what theyíre looking for.


Know Where You Want To Live


Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area. 


Match Your Lifestyles


Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:


  • Where your friends live
  • Where your family lives
  • Where you work
  • What you do for fun


Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you donít want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also donít want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.      


Make A List


It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what youíd like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isnít as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While itís not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, itís best to put an offer in.





Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 11/20/2017

If youíre hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, youíll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, youíll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, donít have a long credit history, or havenít had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldnít be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.





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