Diane Horrigan - RE/MAX  Trinity



Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/21/2018

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If youíre a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you canít learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, weíre going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home youíve been dreaming of and deciding whether itís really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, theyíll want to decide whether the home youíre buying is worth the amount youíre paying. To achieve this, theyíll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that theyíre a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since youíll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure youíre happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldnít affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal canít tell you

Now that weíve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. Youíll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them wonít have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but itís a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




Categories: Buying a Home   appraisal   home value  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/14/2018

If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. Itís never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off youíll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, youíll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.


Check Your Credit


Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When youíre getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, youíll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (Itís free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 


Refrain From Opening New Accounts


If youíre in the market to buy a home, itís probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.


Save, Save, Save


If you want to buy a home soon, youíll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income thatís outside of your average take-home pay. 


Itís also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.


Look For A Real Estate Agent


Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 


Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agentís name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          


Now, good luck with your home search! 





Categories: Buying a Home  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 1/31/2018

If you live in one state, but are trying to buy a home in another state, youíll face some obvious challenges. Thereís certain steps that you can take to help you get through the home buying process in another state. Whether youíre buying a vacation home, or are in a complete transition, youíll need to follow a few steps to make life easier for you. 


Know How Much Time You Have


First, youíll need to ask yourself when youíre planning to move. If you have flexibility and are planning a trip to the new state before you need to move, that paints a much different picture than a more rushed move. Consider:


  • The time it will take to sell your current home
  • When the closing will be on the new home


Keep that timeline in mind.


Youíll definitely want to hire a realtor to handle everything for you on both ends when youíre in this situation. A Realtorís knowledge and experience is definitely worth it to help you.


Get Your Finances In Order


Youíll need to apply for a loan on the home youíre buying in the new state. You should start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage in that state. You donít want all of your important paperwork to be buried in the midst of packing and moving. Also, youíll need to have that loan secured before you even head to the new state to close on the home. Everything should be in order. This situation may be more challenging for you than a typical home purchase. Since big purchases affect your credit score, youíll need to hold off on buying a car, furniture, or any major appliances that you may need. 


Get As Much Information As You Can


As a buyer who is from out of state, youíll need to do your homework. Maybe you have visited the state many times before. Perhaps you know nothing about it. The more you know ahead of time, the easier that your transition will be. Youíll need to find recommendations about which neighborhood to search in. Youíll also want to learn a bit more about the lifestyle the area provides for activities like dining, entertainment, and recreation. You can learn a lot in the internet, but talking to locals- even a local realtor- can help you to find the right spot to live in. 


Find The Right Realtors


Youíll need to find the right realtors in both your home state and the state that youíre moving to. The sellerís agent will assist you in getting your old home sold. From marketing the listing to home showings to sending you all of the paperwork that youíll need to sign, a sellerís agent is very valuable to someone who needs to move out of one state and into another. 


The buyerís agent can help you in your new state, communicating with you on new listings and advising you on the neighborhoods that youíll be the most happy in. Hiring these two realtors may be one of the most important steps in your feat of moving across two different states.


With the resources that are available online, moving from state-to-state isn't as hard as it may seem. Do your research for a smooth transition. Happy moving!





Posted by Diane Horrigan on 1/20/2016

Did you know that approximately three-quarters of the housing in the United States built before 1978 contain lead-based paint? That is about 64 million homes. †Lead paint can pose little risk, but it can also cause serious risks when it isn't properly maintained and managed. There are approximately 1.7 million children that have blood-lead levels above safe limits. Lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and damage other organs. It can also cause abnormal fetal development for pregnant women.†Lead comes into bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, soil or paint chips. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction ACT of 1992 directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure people receive information needed to protect themselves from lead-based paint hazards. In 2008, EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. It requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA. If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, EPA's RRP rule does not cover your project. For information on the RRP click here. For home buyers federal regulations require that home sellers provide lead disclosures to home buyers who are purchasing a home built before 1978. Buyers have 10 days to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment at their own expense.†The regulation does not require any testing or removal of lead-based paint by sellers.  





Posted by Diane Horrigan on 1/6/2016

Buying a home can be a scary and confusing process. It is easy to get confused by all of the homes, locations, and what is truly important to you when buying a home. First you will want to determine what you can afford. To do that you will want to get preapproved. That means a bank; mortgage broker or credit union will determine how much of loan you qualify for based on your income, debt and credit score. They will give a pre-approval letter stating how much you can afford. Now it is time to pick a real estate professional to help you find the right home, negotiate on your behalf and help you navigate through the process. It is important that you choose an agent that is reputable; you have interviewed to find a good fit and is willing to listen to your needs. Many buyers often confuse their needs with their wants. Making a list of what you actually need and what you want or your wish list is very helpful when looking for a home. Buying a home is typically a process of elimination. Many home buyers often dismiss homes that perfectly fit their needs in search for one that has their wants. This doesnít mean you can have your wish list, but home buying is more often defined by your budget than wish lists. To help with this process it is typically helpful to make a list of needs and wants.

Examples of NEEDS Examples of WANTS
Reasonable square footage for comfortable living Paint, carpet, counter tops, accessories.
Bedrooms to accommodate your family Pool or Jacuzzi (unless for medical reasons)
Adequate number of bathrooms Wood floors
Eat-in kitchen Bay windows, skylights
Garage or basement for storage needs Entertainment centers,† moldings, decks and patios
Lot size to accommodate children's play area Upgraded lighting fixtures
Adaptation for Handicapped View
Proximity to a specific school
Single floor living for health reasons
Each individual will have a different list of needs and wants. Your own list will help you evaluate homes as you go through the process. Sharing this list with your real estate professional will also help narrow down your search. The goal is to find a house that includes all of your needs and meets as many of your wants as is practical in your budget.