Whether you have paid off your first home or just have extra money to spend, buying a second home could be your next big real estate move. Before you commit to owning a second home, whether as a vacation home or income property, there are several things to consider in order to make a responsible decision. Take time to do your research on both potential properties and your own short and long-term financial goals before you begin to browse what is available.
Can I Afford a Second Home?
Before you even begin to daydream about a second property, ask yourself if you can truly afford it. Many people decide to purchase their second homes right before or at the beginning of retirement, while others choose to buy a new home while they are still actively working. In any case, knowing you are financially stable enough to afford an additional home is paramount, as if you fall into too much debt, it can be next to impossible to recover financially.
Work with your financial advisor to determine if you can take on an additional mortgage payment, along with homeowner insurance and utilities. If it is going to be a big stretch or have a major impact on your current lifestyle, you might want to save up for a few more years before purchasing that second home.
Know All the Costs
If you do have the money available to responsibly purchase a second property, ensure you know the primary purpose of your purchase. For example, will you be using this property as an income property to rent out to others? If so, make sure you know the ins and outs of renting before you make the purchase. Or, if you are purchasing a vacation home, make sure you plan for any short-stay renters via AirBnB if you are planning on going that route.
It’s important to be aware that most mortgage rates for second homes can run a bit higher than your first, unless you are paying cash or have a sizeable cash down payment. You should also look into additional costs that can come with purchasing in a different state, including insurance costs associated with hurricanes or flooding. Finally, be prepared to learn more about HOA regulations and requirements if you are looking at a second home within a developed neighborhood.
If you have found yourself lucky enough to be in the position to consider buying the perfect second home, you want to make sure you do it right. Understanding landlord laws and property taxes for a home across the country can be a daunting task. There is no better time to reach out to Bell Law, as their knowledgeable real estate attorneys can help navigate you through the buying process to ensure your best interests are at the center of every decision.
Are you putting your home on the market in hopes of selling during the spring or summer season? You can quickly increase the value of your home, as well as increase the chances of a quick sale, by choosing to invest in simple upgrades that can make a big difference. Here are a few ways to spruce up your home before it goes on the market.
Paint the Walls
Giving your walls, baseboards, and trim a fresh coat of paint can sound time-consuming and arduous. However, the finished product will be well worth it. Aim for a neutral color palette to entice homebuyers, choosing light gray or white tones. Remember, you want buyers to walk into your home and picture it as their own. Neutral walls and fresh trim can make a big impact. If painting is not your forte, invest in professionals to get it done quickly and well.
Take a walk around your home and look at things from the eyes of a homebuyer. Most buyers do not necessarily want to purchase a fixer-upper or a home with multiple maintenance issues. Take time now to perform basic maintenance tasks that will make your home seem loved and cared for. Not sure how to fix the wiggling toilet or squeaking door? Hire a professional to fix items on your list.
Invest in Landscaping and Exterior Improvements
Curb appeal means a lot to buyers and having a freshly painted front door or blooming flowers in the yard can set a positive tone for your entire home tour. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home’s exterior look amazing. However, if your house’s siding, roof, door, or sidewalk are damaged, it’s wise to make those repairs now.
Partner with an Attorney
Even before your home goes on the market, choose to partner with an experienced real estate attorney. You’ll love knowing someone is advocating for your best interests throughout the entire selling process, including through closing.
The team at Bell Law has decades of experience working with sellers and buyers. We would be honored to work with you to assure your home sale goes smoothly. Call us today to get started.
You’ve been waiting and saving for this moment. Now, it’s time to start searching for your perfect home. Buying your first house is exciting! It’s also a bit scary. After all, you have saved and prepared for so long; how can you be sure you are making a good investment?
Here are some tips for buying your first home confidently.
Talk with Friends and Family
You can – and should – learn from those who have purchased a home before you. Family members and friends can tell you about their experiences; you can learn from their mistakes and from what they did right.
Know Your Finances
First-time home buyers should know everything about their finances. Beyond checking your credit report and assessing how much you can afford to put towards a down payment, you should also forecast your spending over the next 3, 6, and 12 months to assure you can afford a mortgage. Remember, just because you are approved for a certain amount it does not mean you can afford the monthly mortgage payments.
Write a List
No home will meet every requirement you may have, but it is wise to compose a list of your top features or amenities. This will help you get your priorities in order and then act accordingly. If you aren’t sure what you should be looking for in a home, consider checking out homes for sale online to see if you think an upgraded kitchen is more important than your ideal neighborhood.
Work with an Attorney
You shouldn’t purchase your first home without help. In addition to your family and friends who offer advice, you should also secure an experienced realtor to guide you through your purchasing process. Finally, partner with an experienced real estate attorney from the beginning of your home search. Your attorney will be able to advocate for your best interests during the inspection, the closing process, and throughout the purchase.
At Bell Law, we love working with first-time homebuyers! We would love to work with you during this exciting time. Call us today to get started.