Homeownership in U.S. Falls

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released a report that showed the percentage of homeowners in the United States has declined by almost 2 full points. The peak in 2006 showed the rate of homeownership at 69%. By the fourth quarter of 2009, that overall percentage dropped to 67.2%.

However, when the Federal Reserve compared the effective rate of homeownership by including all the households that are underwater and compared that rate to the U. S. Census Bureau numbers, the effective rate drops even more to 62%. In certain metropolitan areas, the effective rate is 20 to 39 percentage points below that of the Census Bureau.

The report further says that homeowners have a stake in the community, a civic pride, and they tend to participate in elections. These people also maintain their homes because there is a benefit to them. When the value goes up, their equity grows. But homeowners who are underwater see little reason to maintain their home for the benefit of the bank. The conclusion is city governments may suffer when fewer residents are interested or vested in civil affairs due to declining homeownership rates.

First-Time Tallahassee Home Buyers

Let’s say one morning you wake up and realize that, yes, buying a home is the right thing to do for yourself. You’re tired of throwing away money on rent and figure that it’s time to get into a home of your own. But you have reservations.

After all, if it’s your first time, you’ve got questions. You might be a little nervous that you’ll mess up, and it’s normal to feel that way. You are probably spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and making the most important financial purchase of your life.

You will find that being an informed individual about the home buying process is empowering for you. Lucky for you that you came to the right place. So let’s get started buying your first home!

Consider if Buying a Home is For You

Many people harbor secret fears about buying a home, and some of those fears are justified. Not everybody is cut out to own a home, and if you’re one of those people, it’s better to find this out now than when you’re under contract.

  • Renting vs. Buying.
    You might decide that renting is better for you than buying, because buying a home has its drawbacks.
  • Reasons to Buy.
    On the other side of the coin, there are many more benefits to buying. Keep these reasons in mind if you start to get cold feet.
  • Should You Buy a Home Before Getting Married?
    Tips for home buying with a partner or significant other before tying the knot, plus how to handle the financial details of homeownership without plans to ever marry.

Before Buying a Home, Get Your Finances In Order

Line up your financing, set aside a down payment and study the loan programs available. By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you.

  • Order a Free Credit Report.
    Give yourself time to clean up a credit report that contains mistakes. Dispute errors. Try to reduce your monthly debt obligations now by paying down those loan balances.
  • Find a Lender.
    Check out places to get a mortgage and compare rates and fees. Start with your own financial institution, then interview a few mortgage brokers and choose a loan product you completely understand.
  • Determine a Down Payment.
    The more you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payment. Here are 12 places to find a down payment.
  • Consider FHA Loans.
    FHA loans carry competitive interest rates, come with minimum down payment requirements and allow sellers to pay some or all of your closing costs.
  • Get a Preapproval Letter.
    Showing the seller you are already preapproved for a loan gives you an edge during offer negotiation.

Pick a Real Estate Agent to Help With Buying a Home

With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need an agent at all. But all local markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.

  • Why Hire an Agent?.
    An agent with experience can help you to avoid making mistakes such as choosing the wrong home or offering too much.
  • Find a Real Estate Agent.
    Start by asking your friends and family member for referrals. Make sure you are comfortable with your agent before committing to work with that person.
  • Follow Protocol for Working with Agents.
    Here are 10 tips to prevent you from messing up or saying the wrong thing to an agent.

Learn How to Avoid Home Buying Mistakes

The best way to avoid making a mistake it to learn from the mistakes others have made. Buying a home in a desirable location is your best defense. Remember: location, location, location.

  • First-Time Home Buyer Tips.
    Start your search online, and don’t rely on print because most homes are not advertised in the newspaper.
  • Preview Homes for Sale.
    Ask your agent to look at homes before showing them to you, and tour only those that fit your parameters.
  • Avoid the Top 3 Home Buying Blunders.
    Protect your earnest money deposit by writing contingencies into your contract. Here’s how to make sure you buy the right home.

Make an Offer and Negotiate Like a Pro

Although buying a home is not like buying a car, for example, you can still negotiate to get a good price.

  • Top Three Negotiation Tips.
    Price isn’t the only consideration. Sellers often accept lower-priced offers for other considerations.
  • Facing Multiple Offers.
    If you really love the home, chances are another buyer will want it as well. Here’s how to win your offer.
  • Dealing with Counter Offers.
    It’s common for sellers and buyers to negotiate back and forth through counter offers.

Get a Home Inspection and Read Disclosures

Never buy a home without getting a home inspection. Most states have laws about the types of disclosures you are entitled to receive.

  • What a Home Inspection Covers.
    Go through this list and make sure your home inspector doesn’t miss anything crucial.
  • Material Facts.
    Besides disclosing lead-based paint, which any home built before 1978 can contain, sellers should notify you of major defects.
  • Do a Final Walk-Through.
    Always do a final inspection a few days before closing to make sure the property is in the same condition as when you agreed to buy it.

Closing on Your Home

Transactions generally close within 30 to 60 days after your offer has been accepted. Remember to reserve movers or a moving truck early because many people move at the end of the month.

  • Home Insurance.
    Shop for insurance rates carefully. Often, the company that insures your automobiles may offer you the best policy rates.
  • Title Insurance Policy.
    You might think you don’t need a title policy, but it’s the cheapest form of insurance you can buy, and you pay the premium only once.
  • Home Buying Closing Process.
    This covers every step of the home closing process, from the beginning to the end.

Advertising Words for Tallahassee Home Selling

Writing effective ads to sell your home is as easy as choosing the right home selling ad words. Although you may know that a picture is worth 1,000 words, home buyers are also enticed through the use of ad words that sell. Some words carry more weight than others.

Getting Started Using Home Selling Ad Words

It’s easy to be overwhelmed while staring at a blank monitor or an empty page. They call it writer’s block, and the only way to get past writer’s block is to write.

Start by listing all the adjectives and nouns that describe your home. Let the words flow. Don’t worry about the order or spelling, just write them down as quickly as they pop into your mind.

Avoid Negative Ad Words

What you may see as honest and straight forward, a buyer will view as a drawback. Look over your list of words and cross off any that sound negative or misleading. For example, these are bad word choices:

* Small or tiny

Your home or condo might be cozy but it is not small.

* Outdated

It may be original vintage but outdated denotes too much work.

* Oversized

If your home is the largest home in the neighborhood, it’s a white elephant and should be priced accordingly; however, there is no need to draw that fact to the buyer’s attention.

* Upside potential

Unless you’re clearly selling a fixer upper.

* Cramped

A home might be comfortable, but it is never cramped. Cramped can’t be fixed.

* Basement unit

Basements are hard to sell. If given a choice between looking at a basement or penthouse, which would you choose? A better choice is “lower level.”

* Ugly but cute

You might think this is clever, but a buyer may not get past the “ugly” part.

* Decorating allowance

If you need to replace carpeting, for example, just do it. Buyers don’t want extra work.

* Appliance credit

If your appliances are on their last legs, replace them before putting your home on the market.

* On busline

Although public transportation is important to urban buyers, most people picture listening to buses and smelling fumes when you mention it. A better choice is “public transportation available.”

* Near railroad tracks

Not everybody appreciates hearing train whistles or feeling the rumble of trains roar past.

* Needs paint

If it needs paint, paint it. Then you can advertise “fresh paint.”

* Leaking roof

I don’t know anybody who sets out to buy a house with a leaky roof. In fact, most buyers are afraid of roofs that need work. Replace it and offer a roof certification.

* Motivated seller

A motivated seller is a desperate seller, and desperate sellers sell for much less than market value. Instead, try “all offers considered.”

Ad Words That Sell Homes

Sell the sizzle, not the steak, is an adage that rings true. Think back to when you bought the home. What made you buy it? What single feature made you write that offer? Then play up those factors. Here are desirable words to use:

* Beautiful

Every home buyer wants a beautiful home.

* Turn-key

If your home is ready to move into, say so.

* Lovingly maintained

One of the greatest home buyer fears is having to pour money into a home after closing. Homes that are well maintained tend to require less initial upkeep.

* Spacious

Buyers envision buying a home large enough for their needs.

* Back-yard paradise

If your landscaping speaks volumes, play it up.

* Fabulous layout

If your square footage is small, a great layout will overcome objections to the size. Good flow can maximize space.

* Remodeled to perfection

Let buyers know if you’ve made updates that enhance the home.

* Huge master suite (or retreat)

Reciting the number of bedrooms or baths won’t tell buyers the master has its own bath, which is a desirable feature.

Choose Short Descriptive Headlines

If you could choose one word to describe your home, what word pops into your mind? What is most attractive about your home? If it’s location, style size or updates, sell those features in the headline. Here are a few examples:

* Stunning Classic

* Magnificent Mediterranean

* Prestigious Location

* Finest Street in (name of neighborhood)

* Entertainer’s Delight

* Charming Cottage

* Sparkling Pool & Private Spa

* Beautiful Bungalow

* Amazing Arts & Crafts

* Fabulous Water Views

* View of City Skyline

* Secret Gardens

* Upscale Urban

Beware of Fair Housing Law Violations

It is unlawful to discriminate against protected classes. They are:

1. Race — do not advertise “minority community”

2. Color — do not advertise “integrated neighborhood”

3. Religion — do not mention nearby churches or places of worship

4. National Origin — do not say “Hmong community”

5. Sex — Bachelor apartment can be viewed as discriminatory against women

6. Handicap — Mentioning walking distance is arguable if a buyer is unable to walk

7. Familial Status — You could get sued for saying “perfect for young couple”

How Are Tallahassee Seller Rent Backs After Closing Handled?

Question: How Are Seller Rent Backs After Closing Handled?
A reader asks: “I am buying a home, and the seller wants to rent back for two weeks after the transaction closes. Is this normal? What happens if the seller causes damage or breaks something? How much should I charge the seller for rent? I don’t know if I feel comfortable letting the seller rent back after closing.”

Answer: The reasons why a seller might need to rent back after closing vary, but it’s not uncommon for a seller to request a rent back. The home the seller is buying might not be available at the time your transaction closes or the seller might not be able to find a moving van on the last day of the month, when demand for moving vans is high.

Of course, as a new home buyer, you might find this situation unsettling. After all, you’ve paid a lot of money for your new home, on top of paying interest on a loan for a home that you can’t yet occupy. It’s understandable that you are eager to move in and take possession right away. Plus, you may not have anticipated finding yourself in the position of being a landlord.

Lake Jackson, the View and 3324 Northshore

Lake Jackson is a shallow, prairie lake on the north side of Tallahassee in Leon County, Florida.

The Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park is located here.

Endangered Species and/or rare species found at Lake Jackson and the surrounding watershed are the snowy egret, little blue heron, wood stork, bald eagle, least tern, American alligator and round-tailed muskrat. Brown pelicans, rare inland, have also been found on occasion.

One of our listings located, 3324 Northshore Circle, is situated on the lake and has a beautiful lake front view.

If you would like to see this affordable home that has one of the best views in Tallahassee call us at (850) 942-SOLD [7653].

Pro Players Realty – You can score with us!

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