Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner - CENTURY 21 Classic Gold



Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 11/19/2018

Although you might already own a house, now may prove to be a good time to pursue a second residence. For example, if you have always wanted to own a home in the mountains, you can purchase a second residence to make your dream come true. On the other hand, if you want to own a vacation residence on or near the beach, you could enter the housing market to find a beachfront house that suits you perfectly.

Like any home search, finding a second house that matches your expectations may be difficult. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your quest to find a second home, such as:

1. Evaluate Your Finances

Your finances will play a significant role in your ability to purchase any house, at any time. As you get set to pursue a second home, examine your finances closely. Then, you can map out your home search accordingly.

Generally, it helps to consult with banks and credit unions before you launch the search. If you meet with these institutions, you can gain financial insights that you can use to make an informed purchase.

2. Establish Home Buying Criteria

Think about the features you want to find in a second residence. Next, you can craft home buying criteria.

Once you have home buying criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search, too. By honing your home search to residences in specific cities and towns, you can speed up your quest to find the right home at the right price.

It often helps to maintain flexibility as you conduct a search for a second home as well. If necessary, you can modify your home buying criteria throughout the home buying journey.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no reason to enter the housing market on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts can help you quickly and effortlessly acquire a second residence.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to navigate the home buying journey. This housing market professional first will learn about you and your home buying goals. He or she next will craft a custom home buying strategy based on your individual needs. Finally, a real estate agent will put this strategy into action and ensure you can discover a terrific home at an affordable price.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a second home. If you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a particular residence, a real estate agent can offer a data-driven recommendation. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the home buying journey, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them.

If you want to pursue a second house, it helps to plan ahead for the home buying journey. By using these tips, you should have no trouble finding a second home that you can enjoy for years to come.




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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 11/12/2018

Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.

1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal

Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.

A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.

On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.

Assess your mortgage options closely – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.

2. Evaluate Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.

You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.

Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.

3. Consult with Potential Lenders

Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.

Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.

Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 11/5/2018

Buying a new home can be an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience. With so many things to consider, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that matter most to you.

This process is complicated further when you discover a second or third home that you like as much as the first and you’re trying to decide which one to make an offer on.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can effectively compare houses to ensure that you’re making the most sensible, long-term decision for you and your family.

It’s all about the spreadsheet

Today, our method isn’t going to rely on any fancy new apps or paid tools. Everything you need to accomplish your spreadsheet is a tool like Google Sheets (it’s like a free version of Excel) or a simple pencil and notebook.

The columns of your spreadsheet will be made up of the factors that will influence your decision. This will include the obvious details like the cost and square footage of the home, but also finer details like its proximity to key places in your life.

The rows of your spreadsheet will be the properties you’re comparing. Now, it may be tempting to start listing every house on your radar in the columns of your spreadsheet. However, I think it’s more time-effective to only include the homes that you’re likely to make an offer on. This means doing some hard thinking and having a conversation with your family about your realistic goals for buying a home.

What is most important to you in a home and neighborhood?

Let’s turn our attention back to the top row of your spreadsheet. We want to fill that section with around 10 factors that are most important to you in a home and the location the home will be in.

In this section, you can include the estimated cost of the home and the estimated monthly expenses for owning that home (utilities, taxes, etc.).

Here’s the secret weapon of our spreadsheet, however. Rather than listing the actual cost of the home in this row, we’re going to give it a rank of 1 to 5. A score of 1 means the house is a lot more expensive than you want. A score of 5 means the house is the ideal cost. A 3 would be somewhere in the middle.

We’re going to use this 1 to 5 ranking system for all other factors on our spreadsheet as well.

Next to these costs, you’ll want to add other important factors to your home buying decision. Does it have the number of rooms you’re looking for? If a backyard is important to you, does it provide for that need?

In terms of upgrades, how much work will you have to do on the home to make it something you’re satisfied with? For DIY-minded people with time to spare, home improvement might be a welcome concept. For others, it simply would take too much time to accomplish everything you want. So, when you fill out the “Upgrades” column of your spreadsheet, make sure you determine a system for ranking the homes that suits your needs.

House location shouldn’t be overlooked

It’s a sad truth, but in today’s busy world, the average homeowner spends most of their time away from home, whether they’re at work, commuting, or bring their kids to and from after school activities.

You’ll want at least one column on your spreadsheet to be devoted to location. When ranking the location of a home, consider things like commuting time, distance to schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores. All of these things will have a larger impact on your day-to-day life than small details of the house itself.

Ranking the homes

Now that you have the first row and column of your spreadsheet built, it’s time to fill in the details and tally up the totals. These numbers will help inform your decision as to which house is really right for you.




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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 10/22/2018

The homebuying journey may prove to be difficult, and assorted challenges may arise that make it tough to quickly find and buy your dream house. Whether it's encountering problems during a home inspection or negotiating a house price with a property seller, there is no telling what may happen during your pursuit of your dream home. However, if you know how to handle homebuying challenges that come your way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you tackle various homebuying challenges.

1. Stay Patient

When you are faced with a homebuying hurdle, it is important to remember that every problem has a solution. Thus, if you take a calm, cool and collected approach to a homebuying issue, you can find the best way to alleviate this problem.

A patient homebuyer usually is a successful homebuyer, and for good reason. If you maintain patience as you navigate the homebuying journey, you can analyze problems that come your way and allocate the necessary time and resources to solve them. And as a result, you may be able to speed up the homebuying journey and acquire your dream residence in no time at all.

2. Consider Your Options Closely

As you encounter homebuying hurdles, you should consider your options closely. That way, you can weigh the pros and cons of potential homebuying decisions and make informed choices as you try to buy your ideal residence.

Sometimes, it may be beneficial to consult with family members and friends too. If you reach out to loved ones for support, they may be able to help you make the best-possible decisions throughout the homebuying journey.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a home, you may require expert assistance. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you overcome property buying issues.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true. Therefore, if you want to acquire a city residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you want to purchase a small town home at an affordable price, a real estate agent will help you accomplish your desired result.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive guidance a real estate agent can provide as you search for your dream residence, either. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing market. By doing so, he or she can help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying journey, it helps to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can reduce or eliminate homebuying hurdles and purchase your dream house without delay.




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Posted by Brenda Titus REALTOR® Broker/Owner on 10/1/2018

The sellers of your home will not be present during a home inspection. It constitutes a conflict of interest. In fact, in some cases, you may never actually get to meet the occupants of a home you’re considering buying. There’s ways that you can get in touch with the sellers. That’s through your realtor. It is a good idea to ask the sellers of a home plenty of questions that may concern you. It will help you to make a more informed final decision on the home you’re considering buying. Getting these answers also can help you to know what to expect once you actually live in the home. Unless you’re buying a short sale or a foreclosure property, you’ll have likely have this opportunity to ask questions.  Most of the things that you’ll ask the seller will be a bit more open-ended. Here’s some ideas of what you might want to ask the sellers of a home:


Have you ever had water in your basement?


While the home inspection can reveal traces of mold and mildew, the fact that water comes into the basement on a regular basis is a problem. Other questions related to this would be, “Do you have a sump pump?” If there are any major signs of water damage, you can ask that it be repaired before you even buy the home.


Have you had any structural problems repaired? Are there any cracks in the walls?


The seller will answer these questions honestly, allowing you to better assess the condition of the home. 



Has your roof ever leaked? When was the last time the roof was replaced?


The typical roof on a home lasts about 25-30 years. If the roof was replaced more recently, you won’t have to worry about it for years to come. The home inspection will also reveal a lot about the roof and any water damage that may have occurred.


How do the heating and cooling systems work in the home? How much do you typically spend on these utilities?


You should find out from the occupants how well the heating and cooling systems work in the home and if there are any problems that have been found. You can also get an idea from the previous owners of how much money you can expect to spend on gas, oil, and electricity in the home. Your home inspector will also give the heating and or cooling systems a good inspection and let you know if he sees any potential problems with the unit.  


Have you made any recent improvements to the home?


A bonus to any home purchase is if a seller has made any major recent upgrades to the home. Everything that the sellers have done from replacing windows to updating the kitchen to replacing the roof is all things that you won’t have to worry about until a much later date. 


Asking questions during a home inspection is always a great idea. It’s also even better if you get an idea of the condition of the home from the sellers themselves. The bottom line is that when you’re buying a home, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions!




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