How Big a Home Do You Truly Need? 5 Questions to Ask to Figure That Out

When it comes to homes, the popular credo is that bigger is better. More square feet = a larger slice of the American dream, right?

Not necessarily.

For one, bigger homes obviously cost more, and oversized McMansions can be harder to sell. As such, you’ll want a home that’s neither too big nor too small. But how do you strike that balance?

Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you determine how much space you really need.


1. Is this my ‘forever’ home, or is ‘right now’ good enough?

While you can’t predict the future, it is possible to evaluate the likelihood you might be moving in coming years. If so, then maybe you don’t need to buy that perfect “forever home” where you’ll grow old; maybe a “right now” home is good enough.

There’s a common perception that you should be searching for your ‘forever home,’ and that pressure to find a place that has all the space you might ever need often leads buyers to purchase a home that might be too big. It’s OK to know that you’ll only live in a home for the next five or six years, and to buy a home that will serve your needs during that period. You can always re-evaluate and upgrade to a bigger space later.

2. What will my income look like later?

If you’re early in your career, odds are decent that your income will increase over the years. Or, if you’re reaching the end of your career, you may be looking at flattened or declining income. In either case, it’s never a good idea to get a mortgage at the max of what you can afford; it’s better to go small and have some wiggle room.

Nothing causes more stress than financial strain and a mortgage on a home that is a size too large is most likely to be your biggest burden, and a hard one to overcome. Happiness is often one size smaller than your dream home. That way, you can enjoy your home without dreading your monthly mortgage payment.

Also, remember more space means more time and money spent on upkeep and improvements, more rooms to fill with furniture, and higher utility bills to heat and cool the home.

3. What are my priorities?

Another question to consider is what you’ll use all that space for—and be honest: While you might dream of hosting epic dinner parties in that big formal dining room, will you really? Can you say with certainty that your in-laws will descend on you during the holidays and need a guest bedroom to crash in, or might they be just as comfortable in a nearby Airbnb?

Aside from justifying what you’ll use each space for, ask yourself what you’re giving up. If you dream of having a secret “travel fund” so you can see the world, that may be possible only with a smaller mortgage (and house). Or, perhaps you value things other than space, like school district or a walkable location. So make sure to factor in those variables, too—and make sure you aren’t sacrificing them for space you don’t need.

4. How much space do I want from my own family members?

If you absolutely must have privacy—to, say, get work done in a home office or chill out in your man cave—then that extra square footage may be well worth the money. But if you’re more the type who loves having their family members nearby, a large home gives people plenty of alone time… sometimes too much.

Recently when speaking with one of our buyers, she commented: “I’ve found that my daughter’s friends who live in large homes rarely even run into their parents.” So her preference was for something a bit smaller, because she prefers her kids a bit underfoot.

She was also seeking a more cozy vibe and a close-knit family environment a smaller home encourages. This was what the preference was for her family dynamic. You’ll have to determine yours.

5. Does this home feel spacious even if it doesn’t have much space?

Keep in mind that even small homes can feel spacious purely based on an open floor plan and lots of light. Meanwhile, large homes can still feel cramped if they’re dark or poorly laid out. So, when shopping real estate listings, know that the little number next to square footage may not tell the whole story.

For example, features like a long hallway may increase the total square footage, but they are spaces you pass through, not a true destination within the home.

So instead of focusing on total square footage, focus on the size of individual rooms where you see yourself spending the majority of your time. If all you do in your bedroom is sleep, does it matter if its massive or not?


In your experience, how much space is too much space? Or, did you find you underestimated how much room you actually needed? What did you learn about space when buying your current home? Sound off on The Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or our Twitter or Instagram feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

4 Credit Secrets for Buying a Home


In a report that was done by the Federal Trade Commission in 2015 they found that 1 out of every 4 consumers had errors on their credit report.

That being stated, means that it’s possible that you could possibly fall under that scenario. There are many things you can do to improve your credit on your own and should consider before buying a home. Let’s dive into four ideal credit secrets that will help rebuild your credit and improve your score.


Pay off collections first, inquiries second.

While it’s unattested of people living in South Florida, living on credit at one point or another is the norm. We’re talking about using credit cards for everyday living expenses, like rent or groceries. If you’ve fallen behind these are the first debts to focus on.

According to the folks at Experian, charge card debt is about 50% of most people’s issues when it comes to scarring or less-than-perfect credit.

RELATED: What Lenders Want To See On Your Mortgage Application

By paying any of the items that went to collections first, then focusing on your hard inquiries second you’ll see an improvement in your score almost right away.

By the way, if you check your score once in the morning and then once at night it will most likely be different. The debt fairies are constantly changing and reporting, making it very hard to stay consistent.

The good news is, most of the time they are off by a few digits. Hard inquiries are generally coming from lenders for items like mortgages, car loans and more credit cards.

They can stay on your report for a while, and there are some cases you may have to ask to have them removed.

Be consistent with all 3 of the bureaus
Each score is synonymous to the other two bureaus. Don’t forget to be consistent with all three of the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).

Just because you ask for an item to be changed or removed, doesn’t mean that all three get the message.

By pursuing your due diligence, and following up with all three you are ensuring that they are undeviating from one another. Peace of mind will be beneficial by having consistency in place.

RELATED: What Affects Your Credit Score?

Check for errors and discrepancies
You’d be surprised to learn how many people fail to do this. A man who’s a Senior, Junior, the third, etc., needs to make sure his credit is being reported and not a relative. This is a common mistake that does happen.

Of course, everyone wants to believe bureaus are safe from ‘human error’, but this is just not the case. It’s your credit and your responsibility to know what’s on it.

It’s also necessary to stay engaged in being accurate. The last thing you want is to run into an incubus during an important purchase, such as buying a home, so be sure to check this often.

RELATED: 9 Fast Fixes For Your Credit Score

By law, you are entitled to one free credit report a year. Contact a loan officer for more details on how this works.

Working hard to manage your credit is important. Healthy credit makes you have the security necessary knowing you’re covered with issues like emergencies or better yet, a vacation. It’s also vital when getting a mortgage.

The other credit secret that we want you to know is that following up is HUGE when it comes to buying a home. Once you start to pay off your debts, you’ll want to follow up with the creditors.

Your report, needs to be consistent with all three bureaus and if you find errors, keep following up with the appropriate party until they’re gone.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Home Buying Checklist

Are you a “credit master warrior”? Share your stories on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, Twitter Feed or on LinkedIn. Plus don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.


The Advantages of a Smart House

Smart homes take advantage of today’s most popular automation technology and modern conveniences to give homeowners a new level of control. There is no doubt with the popularity of smart devices today and smart home technologies that easily sync to such hand-held mobile devices that smart home technology is on the rise.

smart-home-benefits-apple-iphone-tabletNot only is a Smart House a benefit to a Home Owner as small investments will lead to big savings down the road – think electric bill, heating bill, security systems – but such features are particularly popular among home buyers. Now that Millennials make up the largest share of the home buying market, you may want to consider the importance the technology they’ve grown up on will have on them when it comes time for decision-making.

Here are 5 key Advantages to Smart Homes:

1. Convenience
Smart Home technology allows users remote access to systems including heating and cooling systems, intercoms, music and multimedia devices throughout the home. Integrated hard drives allow homeowners to watch video or listen to audio in any room; video intercoms make it easy to communicate with others in the home or visitors at the door. All of these smart home technologies streamline common tasks.

2. Security
Smart home technology can include advanced security systems with cameras, motion sensors and a link to the local police station or a private security company. Smart homes may also use key cards or fingerprint identification in place of conventional locks, making it harder for someone to break in.

3. Accessibility
For elderly or disabled residents, a smart home may feature accessibility technologies. Voice-command systems can do things like control lights, lock doors, operate a telephone or use a computer. Home automation allows an individual to set a schedule for automatic tasks like watering the lawn, removing the need to perform these labor-intensive tasks on a regular basis.

4. Efficiency
Smart homes offer enhanced energy-efficiency. Lights can shut off automatically when no one is in a room, and the thermostat can be set to let the indoor temperature drop during the day before returning it to a more comfortable level just before residents arrive in the evening. All of these automated tasks, along with modern, energy-efficient appliances, combine to save on electricity, water and natural gas, thereby reducing the strain on natural resources.

5. Resale
When it comes time to sell a smart home, sellers will have an abundance of effective selling points. Whichever advantage of a smart home appeals to a given buyer, your Agent can explain the system and discuss how it makes life easier.

TIP: Homes with automated systems have the potential to sell for much more than comparable homes with conventional technologies. Automating a home can be a worthwhile investment in increasing its market value and attracting possible buyers in the future.

Your Turn

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home, or are interested in sprucing up your home, we’re hoping you’ll find all the content being shared this month useful. Join the conversation throughout Staging Month by engaging with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter for articles like these delivered straight to your inbox!


18 Expert Home Staging Tips To Make A Small House Feel Bigger

Here’s a list of 18 tips for making a small home feel bigger. You can use these tips whether you are staging a home to sell or if you are planning to stay, but just need some help dealing with smaller rooms.

1. Pare down the furniture to the essentials.
Do you really need a chair in the bedroom? Will the room appear larger with just the bed, the nightstands and maybe a dresser?

2. Clutter makes a room feel smaller.
Lots of smaller items, like a Hummel collection or bowling trophies displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display 3-5 items at a time. Store, sell or pre-pack the rest. You’re selling a home, not a collection of “treasures”.

jersey-sell-home-make-room-look-bigger3. Use fewer pieces of furniture.
It’s better to have one larger dresser than 2 smaller ones.

4. Use appropriately sized furniture.
Having a too big sofa in a small den will call attention to how small the room really is.

5. Pull furniture away from the wall.
That little bit of breathing room will give a sense of greater space. Create a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace, with room to move around the back of the furniture.

6. Cooler colors recede.
Painting an interior room a neutral shade of pale blue, green or gray will make it feel larger.

7. Choose the right exterior paint.
Houses appear larger on the outside when painted a lighter color.

8. Keep walkways and sight-lines clear.
Don’t place furniture so that you are walking into the back of the sofa, or other large piece of furniture, when you walk into the room.

9. Bedrooms feel larger if there is ample space to walk on either side of the bed.
Not enough space? Consider getting a smaller bed while you home is on the market. Downsize from a king to a queen or from a queen to a double, if necessary. Some budget-friendly options are plentiful in box stores; a simple fold-able frame and a mattress in a box. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised how comfortable they are!

10. Place the bed on the wall furthest from the door, if possible.
The room will feel instantly larger.

11. Show more hardwood.
The larger the expanse of hardwood floor, the larger the room will appear. Do you really need that area rug? If the hardwood floors are hidden by wall to wall carpet, remove the carpet. The home will feel much more spacious.

12. Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs.
Or if the room looks OK without it, don’t use any area rugs.

13. Patterned upholstery and drapes make a room feel smaller.
Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. Use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger.

14. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger.
Reflect a window or outdoor view, if possible. You can visually expand a space by putting a large mirror over a sofa.

15. A well lit room feels larger.
Get rid of those dark corners. Make sure every overhead light and table lamp is lit before open houses and showings.

16. Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better.
Shutters, blinds or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, strong patterns or complicated valences) take up less “visual space”.

17. Strive for cabinets and closets to be half-full.
You will appear to have more closet and cabinet space. There is no such thing as a closet that is too empty when selling your home.

18. Clean houses feel larger.
Make sure every surface including your floors are shiny clean. Clean your windows and screens so they let in maximum light and sparkle.

Your Turn

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home, or are interested in sprucing up your home, we’re hoping you’ll find all the content being shared this month useful. Join the conversation throughout Staging Month by engaging with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter for articles like these delivered straight to your inbox!


Other Articles in the Home Selling Season Prep Blog Series:

The Difference Between Staging and Decorating
The Best First Impression with Best-in-Class Curbside Appeal
Home Remodeling Projects That Add Value to Your Home
Why Consider “Smart Home” Updates
A Quick ‘Cover Your Bases’ Home Prep Checklist
Test Your Home Staging Savvy

Preparing Your Home For The Disabled or Elderly

Sadly, youth doesn’t last forever, and homeowners who want to age in place must take this into consideration from the get-go. Likewise, preparing your home for the disabled also requires great consideration.  If you know in advance preparing your home for the disabled or elderly is on your must-have’s list, it is helpful when buying. But when you’re already in your home and are looking to remodel to accommodate, this can become complicated and more costly.

RESOURCE: Assistance For Home Repairs and Improvement from

Patrick Parker Realty looks to our experts who have a lot of advice to make it easier on you.  First, there is an incredibly helpful design document available from the Department of Justice (responsible for enforcement of the ADA). These standards dimensionally define an amazing array of disability solutions. These standards have been developed to meet the broadest spectrum of disability needs (say shower size or door clearance), so meeting the standards will likely meet the need of the homeowner unless there is a very specific condition.

Here’s some more things our experts recommend you consider when adapting your home for the elderly or disabled:

Widen Hallways and Doors
This is the most obvious change that needs to happen, but for good reason. Accessibility is the biggest issue faced by disabled people.

Ask yourself:

1. Are the sidewalks wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair?
2. Are there any steps at all required to get into the home?
3. Is the door wide enough, and is the threshold flat enough to get over?

Specialty items, like the special bath tub, lower sinks, and grab bars can be added as needed, but the space to get around in a chair, the lack of any steps at all on the first floor, and a full bathroom on the first floor are basic.

These things are very difficult to change later, and can be quite expensive. Planning for wide hallways and easy access at the outset can save you a ton of money and stress.

Many people do not realize how much your eyesight can deteriorate as you age, even if you’re healthy. Lights that work just fine for young people may not be enough for those with failing eye sight.

Brighter, natural spectrum lighting is key. Also, adding accent lighting to help “guide” those who are sight-impaired will also help them with life quality & independence.

Look for the dark spots in your home and lighten them up. The ability to see clearly can drastically reduce the risk for tripping and falling, which is a huge concern for the elderly and disabled.

Another issue that the young and abled may not consider is the acoustics of a home. It’s easy to filter out all that extraneous noise when your hearing works properly, but it becomes much more difficult for the impaired.

Understanding how to outfit your home for optimal acoustics is important hear. Carpeting and other soft surfaces help but that is only the beginning. Do some research on home acoustic improvements for the hearing impaired. Hiring or consulting with an acoustic engineer might not occur to you, but it can be a great investment – and will save you the frustration of trying to shout over ambient noise.

If the elderly or disabled person in your home is in a wheel chair, another top priority for you should be to get the carpets replaced.

Carpet can make it difficult to move around independently in a wheelchair because it takes more energy to do so. Hardwood and laminate floors not only make the home easier to navigate; they are also very popular and can increase the re-sale value of a home.

Making your home safe doesn’t always mean downgrading aesthetics. Wood floors are both stylish and easier to move around on safely.

Of course, when you’re shopping or remodeling with the elderly and disabled in mind, it’s easy to slip into a hospital mindset and start thinking practically without considering aesthetics.

This is a huge mistake, changing the dynamic of a living space to nurture creativity, energy and overall well-being relate to safety and health, but also to having an inspired space people feel good in no matter what age they are. Just because somebody is disabled doesn’t mean they want their home to feel like a hospital or rest home. People prefer to live at home for a reason. If your loved one wanted to live in a rest home, they would move to one!

Make it Personal
Whether buying a home or adapting a home to make it safe for the disabled or elderly remember; every person, and disability, is different, so ask your loved one about their preferences.

RELATED: Tax Deductions When Caring for A Parent

Your Turn

Have you had to adapt your home or make a home buying decision based on preparing for the disabled or elderly? What advice do you have for others? Sound off on our Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Trust Us: You Need an Open House Safe Word

safe-wordIt could be anything from “cornucopia” to “tarpaulin” — just make sure it’s memorable (and that your real estate agent is in on the plan).

Open houses are totally fun. You get to walk around in someone else’s place and pretend it’s your own. You’re not thinking about mortgage payments or roof repairs. You’re there in the moment — dreaming of the possibilities and just loving the current owner’s choice of decor.

However, it’s not always all floating bookshelves and Eames rockers. What do you do if you show up and the house is a hellscape of living nightmares? As much as you’d like to, you can’t just say, “Forget this noise,” hop in your muscle car, and spin doughnuts in the yard on the way out of there.

No, you need something subtle and elegant: a safe word.

Better safe word than sorry

A safe word is a single word (or phrase) that you and your agent agree to drop when you see a deal breaker and need to hit the eject button. The word can’t be “bedroom,” “fireplace,” “pied-à-terre,” or anything you might normally say when walking through an open house. Instead, think unusual or even exotic, like “cornucopia” or “tarpaulin.”

Here’s how it works: When you see something you don’t like, just toss your safe word into casual conversation and your agent will know it’s time to get out. It doesn’t matter if what you don’t like is decor, layout, smells, or even vibes. Your reason is your own.

The important part is that your agent will hear you and then start the fancy footwork needed to make a quick escape. Once you’re safely in your car making your getaway, you can talk over the whys and wherefores.

Make it memorable — and unmistakable

“Say, is that a tarpaulin I see tucked under the deck?” or “This living room layout really presents a cornucopia of options.” These are unique and unmistakable ways to make your safe-word plan of action beforehand, your agent will hear the word and execute the escape.

That short statement can get you out of all kinds of undesirable house dismays and you’ll be glad to have it in your arsenal. The desire to put your time to good use is pretty universal, but never is it more important than in the pressure-packed, time-sensitive world of house hunting.

Ultimately, the seller doesn’t want you wasting time in their house any more than you want to be wasting time in a house you’re definitely not going to buy. A safe word is an easy way to maximize your limited house-hunting time — without hurting a single feeling.

So grab a dictionary, a thesaurus, or maybe the random article button on Wikipedia and start scouring. You’re going to want a good one.


What creative safe words can you come up with? Use it in a sentence.  Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

5 Neighborhood Features That Boost Resale Value

Woman-Buying-Flowers-11-11When you’re in the market to buy a home certain factors are on the top of your list — be they large walk-in closets, a gourmet kitchen, or a private backyard. But beyond the details of the house itself, your potential new abode’s neighborhood will most likely be high on your list (location, location, location!).

Maybe it’s the community pool, the nearby biking trails, or walkability to the elementary school and grocery store. Or maybe it’s the overall curb appeal of the neighborhood… Who wouldn’t like a tree-lined street or a neighborhood bursting with inviting, colorful flowers and shrubs?

Here’s a list of the neighborhood features that not only satisfy your home-buying checklist but also boost your resale and property value in the future:

1. Walkability
Yes, it seems as if we drive or take public transportation everywhere these days. But the truth is, there’s something about being able to walk out your front door and head down the street to the grocery store or local coffee shop that not only appeals to potential buyers but also boosts your resale value significantly. Look for “close to all” in listing details… and scope out the neighborhood to see exactly what that means.

2. Amenities
Homeowners love neighborhood amenities. Typically, new-home communities offer pools, fitness facilities, parks and play areas. Amenities such as tennis courts, walking and biking trails, and dog parks do incredible things to boost a home’s resale value — especially for families looking to buy.

RELATED: How to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood for Your Family

3. Historic charm
The historic character of a neighborhood tends to help resale value, as it is a feature that is difficult to replicate. Many times, historically designated districts will aim to maintain a certain level of uniformity and have community commissions to help preserve the neighborhood aesthetic, which in turn will help preserve values.

RELATED: From the Victorian-era Ocean Grove to the small-town classic feel of Allenhurst, Patrick Parker Realty loves the many markets we serve that boast such charm

4. Unique homes
Not everyone wants to choose from the four models a builder offers — and only those four models — which is why neighborhoods that offer you the choice of semicustom or custom homes sometimes have a better resale value than ones that don’t.

Areas with custom and semicustom homes, compared to cookie-cutter production homes, tend to show larger increases in value over time. More astute buyers prefer unique homes with character that add to the charm of the neighborhood and are more likely to own for longer periods of time, creating less turnover in the neighborhood and higher value.

5. Schools
It almost goes without saying that if a neighborhood is located in a great school district, it immediately boosts a home’s resale value. If a home is in a quality school district, those communities tend to not only retain their value, but appreciate as well. There will always be parents who want their children attending great schools.


What neighborhood feature attracted you to your home?  Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

The 10 Step Homebuyer’s Checklist

The home buying process can be bewildering and stressful. We get it. And we’re here for you every step of the way.

Our homebuyer’s checklist breaks down the process and points you the tips and tools you need to find your next place:

1. Check your credit report.
You don’t want your credit score to hold you back once you’ve found your dream home, so make sure it’s in good standing ahead of time.

RELATED: 9 Fast Fixes For Your Credit Score >

2. Figure out how much you would like to spend.
Think through your family’s priorities, your investment strategy, and your monthly finances to settle on a price range. Check out Trulia’s affordability calculator for help crunching the numbers.

RELATED: How To Determine Your Budget When Buying A Home >

3. Find a mortgage lender and get pre-approved for a loan.
Most buyer’s agents and sellers will take you more seriously if you have a pre-approval letter in hand. For instant, real-time mortgage quotes, try Trulia’s mortgage center.

4. Identify your target neighborhood(s).
You don’t just marry the house, you marry the whole neighborhood, so make sure it’s a good fit for your family’s lifestyle. For local insights about schools, crime, commute, and more, check out Trulia Local.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Choose the Perfect Neighborhood >

5. Make a wish list with must-haves and nice-to-haves.
Browse listings by creating filters to get a feel for what’s available in your area in your price range. Make sure you know what you’re willing to compromise on, what you’re not, and where you and your spouse might disagree.

6. Find a buyer’s agent.
Now that you know what you want, and how much you’d like to spend, you’re ready to find an agent. You can contact us and speak to one of our Buyer’s Agents and you can also check out our reviews from other clients on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page.

7. Search for new properties and open houses.
Now is the time to pound the pavement (and the web) to find the house that will be your next home. Don’t forget to create alerts to get new homes sent to you as soon as they hit the market, and “save” homes you’d like to track.

You Can Create An Account and Set Alerts on the Patrick Parker Realty Website.

8. Make an offer.
Work with your agent to research the selling prices for homes comparable to the one you’d like to buy. Once you’ve determined a price you’re comfortable with, your agent will deliver the offer to the seller’s agent. After that, sit tight while the seller decides to accept, reject, or counter your offer.

RELATED: 10 Things To Do Before Making An Offer On A Home > 

9. Get an inspection.
If your offer gets accepted, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re buying: an inspection will help you understand the overall condition of the home and reveal any significant repair work needed. After your inspection, you’ll have a chance to go back to the seller and make any adjustments or credits necessary for deal-breaking work.

RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors >

10. Move in.
Congratulations! You did it. Here are a few more tips to help you make a smooth move.


8 Steps To Buying A Home: A Comprehensive Guide

home-buyer-checklistThe decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best choices you could ever make. After all, a home is the largest – and most emotional – investment most people will face in their lifetime.

So, how do you know if it’s the right time for you to buy?

Step 1: Decide to Buy
There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. The key is finding the right buy and taking the time to carefully evaluate your finances.

A home purchase is an important step that can provide many advantages. Purchasing your own home is a great investment that can deliver several financial benefits – equity build up, value appreciation, automatic savings plan – not to mention a new sense of pride!

Start looking at your options today. You don’t have to know everything. Your Patrick Parker Realty agent is ready to help you through every step of the process.

RELATED: The “Am I Ready to Buy A Home” Checklist

Step 2: Hire Your Agent
When you’re looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good agents put their clients first. This is your dream, and your agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.

A great real estate agent will:

1. Educate you about the current conditions of the market.
2. Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
3. Co-ordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process.
4. Guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget.
5. Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.
6. Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines.
7. Inform and discuss with you, and suggest solutions to solve any problems that may arise.

RELATED: How to Find the Right Buyers Agent

Step 3: Secure Financing
To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your agent to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.

What will the consultant do for you?

1. Review your current financials.
2. Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process.
3. Guide you to an appropriate price point.
4. Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal – price, interest rates, loan approval.
5. Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.

RELATED: How Much Home Can I Afford?

Step 4: Find Your Home
So you’ve met with your trusted advisors, and now you’re ready to begin your search. But how or where do you start? There are a lot of homes out there, and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming and confusing. Your Patrick Parker Realty agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

1. What amenities are crucial for you and your family?
2. How much space do you need and why?
3. Which is more critical: location or size?
4. Would you be interested in a fixer-upper?
5. How important is home value appreciation?
6. Is neighborhood stability a priority?
7. Is accessibility to main routes a priority?
8. What features are not negotiable in your new property?
9. You’ll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.

RELATED: 5 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Neighborhood for You and Your Family

Step 5: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you love, the next step is deciding on a price. It’s important to remember that a home is an investment. Your agent can give you information on other properties in the neighborhood to help you ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price. Look to your agent to explain and guide you through the offer process.

Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are:

1. List price:  Start with the price point that the home is listed at. This will give you a base when looking at the home’s value.
2. Market Analysis:  Your agent will give you an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if the price point is on par.
3. Improvements:  Your agent can give you a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value.

RELATED: 10 Things To Do Before Making An Offer

Step 6: Perform Due Diligence
Your agent will provide you with improvements and challenges within your home. This way you’ll know what you are getting into before you complete the purchase.

Knowing what work has and has not been done to your home is important information to have in the buying process. While updates can increase your home value, damages can take money out of your pocket. Your main concern is the possibility of structural damage, which can come from water, shifting ground or poor construction.

RELATED: All About Seller Disclosure

Very often a problem appears to be big, but can be fixed with very little effort and not a huge budget.

RELATED: Benefits of An Advance Home Inspection

Step 7: Close
Once you’ve determined a price point you’re comfortable with, you’re in the “home” stretch! But, in order to ensure that you don’t put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you’ll need to keep in mind:

1. Staying in control of your credit and finances:  Do not make any large purchases during this time. It’s important to keep your financials steady throughout the buying process. Talk to your financial consultant for guidance.
2. Keeping in touch with your agent and financial consultant:  It’s important to stay in constant communication with your Patrick Parker Realty agent and financial guide during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your team is there to help you!

RELATED: About the Home Closing Process

Step 8: Protect Your Investment
Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it’s time for your maintenance plan! It’s now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come.

Performing routine maintenance on your home’s systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Prepare for Home Ownership

And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your Patrick Parker Realty agent doesn’t need to end! After you buy, your agent can still help you – providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home’s current value.

RELATED: 12 Ways to Save on Homeowners Insurance

Your Turn

In your experience, have we missed any steps in the home buying process? Sound off in Comments, on Facebook or Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for articles, tips and guides like this one delivered straight to your inbox.  And if you have any questions about getting started with the home buying process, a Patrick Parker Realty agent is here to help!  Contact Us today!

6 Tips for A Successful Home Search 

new-jersey-home-searchYou know those movies where the two lovers look into each other’s eyes and the music tells you that volumes are being spoken without any words? Yeah, well, that ain’t the way it works when you’re house hunting. Words — lots of them — are your friends, so start talking with your agent early and often.

So what’s the best way to communicate with your real estate team to ensure home-seeking success?

These steps will ensure you are keeping the lines open and the info flowing during your house hunt:

1. Sit down with your agent NOW

You do have an agent, right?

Especially in competitive markets, you’ll find yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t have someone watching the market and working your case every single day.

This person is your adviser and advocate throughout the process. Make sure “good communication skills” is one of the criteria you bring to bear on your choice of agent.

Meet face to face as soon as possible to form a bond, to lay out your needs and budget, and to learn about the many steps involved in a successful real estate purchase. These are things you don’t want to be hearing about on the fly.

2. Get your expectations set early

Whether you’re buying or renting, tell your agent to give you the facts of the market right between the eyes. This isn’t the time to sugarcoat realities.

Ask her for recent data on list price-to-sale ratios to prepare yourself to make over-asking offers if necessary. Ask about ways to compete on things other than price — doing a pre-offer inspection, for example, so as to waive the inspection contingency. Learn about the need for speed, if any.

Sometimes with rentals, it can be a game of hours. Sometimes you should go in ready to sign.

3. Don’t be shy, be honest

Your agent can’t do her job without accurate information about you.

Don’t hold back on your likes and dislikes, your financial situation (clarified by early contact with your banker or mortgage broker), and your reactions to the properties you see.

Create boards on Trulia and add properties you like and don’t like (even if they’re out of your price range) and invite your agent to collaborate. Everyone talks about personal style in a unique way, so it can be helpful to show, not tell, when it comes to what you want.

This is no time to be polite, so say what you think at open houses and private showings (though privately to your agent, not within earshot of other buyers, listing agents, or sellers).

Each opinion and observation that you voice tightens the focus of your search and offers clarity into what you’re after.

4. Establish a foolproof way to connect

When properties move quickly, every minute can count.

Tell your agent in order of preference the way you want to be reached (email, text, call), and whether you should be hit by all means at once if there is a hot property.

And ask your agent how they are most quickly reached.  Tell them you want their “bat phone.”

5. Be systematic

Avoid flailing about. Make sure your agent and you have a search methodology in place so that forward motion can occur.

Try the “benchmark” approach: At the end of every showing, rank the property against others you’ve seen, always searching for the one place that’s come closest to “right.” Share your approach and rankings with your agent.  Remember, the more they know about your preferences, the better they are able to serve you.

Properties will topple properties, a certain discipline is brought to bear, and your search will develop a rigor and logic of your own making.

6. You are not a loser

If you’re continually seeing properties at your price point that just don’t satisfy, don’t feel like you’ve somehow failed.

The market is the market, and sometimes you have to adjust your sights. Compromise comes along the four vectors of real estate: size, condition, location, and price.

If price can’t change, talk candidly to your agent about adjusting one (or more) of the three others.

Looking to buy on the Jersey Shore? Explore just some of the communities we serve…


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