Category Archives: Real Estate

Home Ownership 201 – 10 Essentials Items

I know from my own first home buying experience, that I never thought of the essential items listed below.  I wish I had,  because  then I would not have lived in fear of the visits to Lowe’s and the ensuing costs of home ownership.  No one really sits down to talk about what  it is like to own a home and sometimes it is part of the experience to just blunder  through blindly.

Homes do not come with these 10 essentials items:

  1. Ladders
  2. Lawn Mower
  3. Edger or what I call a Weed Wacker
  4. Hoses to water your lawn and plants
  5. Hedge Clippers & Pruners
  6. Light Bulbs of Various Sizes (you know they don’t make one size fits all)
  7. Shovel, Snow Shovel, & Spade
  8. Furniture to fill up the vast space, especially if you are coming from an apartment that is under 1,000 square feet
  9. Wrench, Screw Drivers, Hammer
  10. Availability of Extra Cash

Number 10, the availability of extra Cash, is the most essential element to have after closing.  You just do not know what can crop up once you sign your name on the dotted line.  Taking care of the home is now your responsibility.   Having  the availability to money will not only keep the worries at bay, but  will prove essential in times of crisis, as when the infamous heater blows.

My hope  in writing this series is to help you be more prepared and aware of  the challenges of home ownership.

Home Ownership 101

With record low interest rates, why is anyone waiting to buy a home?  Lots of factors contribute to this lack of buying frenzy and the linked article from Realtor® Magazine goes into more detail on these factors.  

However, I think one of the major reasons that people are not massively going out and buying homes is the fact that no one has talked about or written about Home Ownership.  With the Real Estate Market Bubble bursting in such a grand way, the next generation of home buyers are much more cautious of entering the market.  I do not blame them. An artificial market was created and fed on itself to a point of gargantuan collapse.

Let’s explore the Responsibility of Owning a Home instead of the great deal that a consumer may or may not be missing out on right now.  

When I bought my first home, I felt it was a rite of passage.  My husband and I had money saved up in our bank account, we were extremely tired of the apartment life, and we thought that we were ready for the joys of home ownership.

Ha!  Ready for home ownership?  I don’t believe anyone is ready for the great responsibility of paying back a mortgage.  I even forget that I live in THE single largest purchase that I have ever made.  Making sure that we pay our mortgage on time is well, irrelevant, because our mortgage provider takes care of that with automatic withdrawals.  However, budgeting, planning, and understanding our finances in such a way that we can keep paying that mortgage each month is vital.

Know your Financial Situation.
Blah, blah, blah.  You may say.  The first stop when you are ready to buy is not my office.  It’s a great feeling when people want to start looking; but, it is not a great feeling when people want to buy and are unable to financially afford what they fall in love with.  Your first stop should always be to a Loan Officer’s office.  They can get you pre-approved and hopefully go over with you the price range you should be staying within for your new home.  Know your price range that corresponds to a comfortable mortgage payment.

Knowing your financial situation is very important.  This is the number one thing you need to understand to a T.  If you understand your current situation, you will be able to accommodate for the unforeseen in the future.  You can NEVER predict the future; but, you can surely be mindful of your current situation.

I can show you beautiful homes; but, I’m not going to have the most knowledge of what you can afford.  YOU, the consumer, must be well aware of your financial situation.

Who is a Qualified Home Buyer?

National Association of Realtors is calling for a relaxing of the current credit policy restrictions to revive the current stagnant real estate market.  They believe that the loosening of these credit restrictions will get “qualified buyers” out in the real estate market.  Are we doing justice to real estate by lowering the credit score standards?  

Personally, I think the question we all should all be asking ourselves in the Real Estate industry is “Who is a Qualified Home Buyer?.  Let’s explore the idea:

  1. Financial viability:  Usually that means having at minimum for an FHA loan, 3.5% of the loan down payment or if you go for a Conventional loan, 10 to 20% down.
  2. Credit score:  Great credit is thought to be an indicator of responsibility.
  3. Understanding of the responsibility of home ownership.

Now the first two have some sort of metric behind them.  If you have the money and fall into the correct credit score range, voila,  you are golden.  However, the one thing that vexes me, is “understanding of the responsibility of home ownership”.  There is no discussion about educating the prospective buyers on the responsibilities of them owning the home.  

Whose responsibility should it be?  Lenders?  Realtors®?  Government?  Who knows?  

But, let’s explore the awesome privilege and responsibility it is to own a home in the next couple of weeks…