Mary Ann Barry - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Mary Ann Barry on 7/31/2019

Shopping for a new house can seem like an overwhelming experience because there are so many factors to consider.

The top priorities for the majority of house hunters include the quality of the school district, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the overall condition of the house. Price is also a major consideration, as is square footage, commuting distance, and the character of the neighborhood.

In many cases, house hunters have specific requirements in mind, ranging from privacy to the layout of the rooms.

Although your search will be much more efficient if you know exactly what you want, the process of looking at houses will help you clarify your preferences, needs, and design ideas for your next home. Touring houses online and browsing home decorating websites can give you a lot of useful ideas, but nothing compares to actually visiting houses and taking a close look at everything the property has to offer.

Working with an experienced real estate agent is often the best way to find a home that checks off most of your priority items and meets your expectations. Searching the real estate market on your own is like going on a self-guided tour of a large historical site or tourist attraction. Without expert guidance, you could easily overlook some of the best aspects of the property, and you could also miss some "red flags" and negotiating opportunities that only a trained real estate professional could recognize.

Other than price, location, size, and property condition, what are other key features you might want to keep your eye out for? Everyone has different priorities and "wish lists," but when you know what you want, you'll be a lot more likely to be satisfied with the outcome! While there is no shortage of house hunting checklists online, here's a quick overview of some of the features and property characteristics you'll want to keep in mind.

Although you'll generally want to have a home inspector take a close look at any home you've made an offer on, there are a few key things you can notice before you even get to that stage. The condition of interior walls, the roof, and basement are three areas worth paying close attention to. Wet basements are not uncommon, but they can cause damage to your foundation and many things you might want to store there. Wet basements are also breeding grounds for mold spores, so a chronically wet basement can potentially be hazardous to your health, too -- especially if you or your family is prone to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency is a good source of information on indoor air quality issues.

There are literally dozens of other details you'll want to pay attention to in prospective homes, including amount of storage space, the size of the back yard, privacy -- or the lack, thereof -- the house's distance from the street and other houses, the neighborhood noise level, the amount of street traffic, the reputation of nearby schools, and convenience to shopping centers, medical facilities, transportation, recreation, and entertainment. Other desirable features include a nice patio or deck, a garage, a fully functional HVAC system, updates to bathrooms and the kitchen, and enough room in the house for your growing family, overnight guests, and the occasional holiday party.





Posted by Mary Ann Barry on 6/26/2019

The definition of a "dream house" varies from homebuyer to homebuyer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to determine if a residence is right for you.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you evaluate a home so you can decide whether to proceed with an offer to purchase.

1. Review a Home's Features

Think about why you are searching for a home and what you want to find in a house. For example, if you require a home that features a deluxe kitchen, you can narrow your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you want a home that boasts an above-ground swimming pool, you can focus on houses that offer this amenity.

Consider where you want to reside too. That way, you can hone your home search to a select group of cities and towns and find a residence that is located in one of your preferred locations.

2. Examine a Home's Price

The cost of a home depends on a number of factors, including the residence's age and condition. Of course, the housing market itself plays an important role in a house's cost as well, so you'll want to examine the real estate sector closely. By doing so, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market or vice-versa and determine if a home's price falls within your budget.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of quality houses available at budget-friendly prices. If you shop for a home in a buyer's market, you may be able to purchase a house at or below a seller's initial asking price.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, there is a shortage of premium houses, and top-notch homes that become available may be in high demand. In a seller's market, you may need to act fast to acquire your dream home. Plus, you may need to submit an offer to purchase that exceeds a seller's initial asking price so you can purchase your ideal residence without delay.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a home selling expert, and he or she is happy to help you weigh the pros and cons of buying a house. In fact, a real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can make the best-possible decisions throughout the property buying journey.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive lots of support so you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience. A real estate agent first will learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you search for a residence that matches your expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And if your homebuying proposal is approved, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble deciding if a house is right for you.




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Posted by Mary Ann Barry on 6/5/2019

Requesting a home showing usually is a great idea if you find a residence you may want to buy. In addition, there are many things you can do to get the most out of any house showing, at any time.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you attend a home showing and determine if a particular residence is right for you.

1. Analyze All Areas of a Home

A home showing enables you to get an up-close look at all areas of a residence. Thus, you should examine each room in a house during a showing so you can envision what life may be like if you acquire this residence.

Don't forget to walk around outside a house, too. By doing so, you can evaluate a home's yard and other outdoor amenities, as well as the condition of a house's roof and siding.

2. Don't Hurry

There is no need to feel rushed during a house showing. Instead, take as much time as you need to walk around a house and perform a full property evaluation.

If you find you still want to know more about a home after a showing, don't stress, either. You can always request a second home showing to further evaluate a residence at your convenience.

3. Ask Questions

A home showing provides an unprecedented learning opportunity. As such, you may want to ask questions as you walk around a house so you can receive instant home insights from a seller's agent.

Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that there is no such thing as a "bad" question. If you are unsure about whether a house suits you perfectly, ask questions about the residence. That way, you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home or continue your house search.

As you get set to embark on the homebuying journey, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can help you prepare for a house showing, along with provide insights into the homebuying journey that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

If you view a house with a real estate agent, for example, you can follow up with this housing market professional after the showing. Next, a real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of a residence. And if you decide you have found your dream home, a real estate agent can help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

For homebuyers who are on the fence about whether to request a house showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent right away. With a real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to streamline the homebuying journey. As a result, you can work with a real estate agent to find and acquire your dream residence without delay.




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Posted by Mary Ann Barry on 5/22/2019

You don't need to be a real estate market expert to find and acquire a great house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, if you use common sense during your home search, you should have no trouble achieving your desired homebuying results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you discover your dream home.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves

You know you want to purchase a house, but you still have no idea what defines your ideal residence. However, if you devote time and resources to establish home must-haves, you could speed up your house search.

Think about what will make you happy and what you need from a house. For example, if you want to own a home that is close to your office in the city, you can narrow your home search to residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you require a home that offers multiple bedrooms, you can explore residences that match your needs.

2. Create a Budget

A budget often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. And if you fail to create a budget before you start a house search, you risk checking out residences that fall outside your price range.

To establish a homebuying budget, you should consider your current and future expenses. It may be helpful to make a list of your expenses and compare them against your income. Then, you can determine exactly how much you can afford to pay for a home.

You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage, too. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can search exclusively for houses that you can afford.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

There is no reason to search for your dream home on your own. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive guidance as you explore houses in your preferred cities and towns.

Typically, a real estate agent is willing to go the extra mile to help you achieve the best-possible results. If you want to purchase a home near a beach, for example, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Conversely, if you want to acquire a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will help you accelerate the homebuying cycle.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you weigh the pros and cons of submitting an offer to purchase a home, either. If you find a home you may want to buy, a real estate agent can help you determine the best course of action. And if you decide to submit a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase.

Want to acquire your dream home? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can use common sense throughout the homebuying journey and make your homeownership dream come true.





Posted by Mary Ann Barry on 5/8/2019

The decision to purchase a second home may be one of the biggest choices you will make in your lifetime. As such, it is important to consider all of the factors associated with a house purchase before you embark on a quest to acquire a second residence.

Now, let's take a look at three key factors to evaluate as you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a second home.

1. Your Current House

Consider the state of your current house you will be happy you did. If you assess your current residence, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine if now is a good time to start a search for a second house.

For instance, if your home needs a new roof or requires other repairs, you may want to complete these improvements first. After these house repairs are finished, you then can kick off a search for your second house. Perhaps most importantly, you can launch this home search with the reassurance that your current house is in good shape and likely won't require significant repairs in the near future.

2. Your Finances

If you still have a mortgage on your current house, you may want to focus on paying that off first. Once your mortgage is paid in full, you can conduct a search for a second house without having to worry about paying two mortgages at once.

Of course, if your current house's mortgage is paid in full, you should still evaluate your finances closely. Ensure you have sufficient finances to cover a mortgage for a second house, as well as your everyday expenses. By doing so, you can hone your search for a second house to residences that fall within your price range.

3. Your Immediate and Long-Term Plans

Think about why you want to buy a second home in the first place. Then, you can determine how this decision may impact your immediate and long-term term plans.

For example, if you want to return to college, buying a second home may affect how much money you have at your disposal that you can use to go back to school. On the other hand, if you hope to get a work promotion in the foreseeable future, you soon may have additional funds to help you make your dream of owning a second home come true.

As you decide whether to launch the search for a second house, take some time to consult with a real estate agent. A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and he or she can provide housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and can help you acquire a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.

Account for these factors before you start your search, that way you can make an informed decision about whether now is the ideal time to pursue a second residence.




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