Here are some good reasons to work with a eal estate agent– short article, too. Talk to us about buyer brokerage and its advantage for buyers!!!
From the National Association of Realtors this article indicates that Pending Home Sales (PHSI) are finally on the increase after a diffcult winter and sales slower than last year. It is good to see the The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.4 percent to 78.8 in March…(even if it)…is 5.9 percent below a year ago.
Lets hope these signs are an indication of a good summer of sales in the Rangeley area. We have had a good early spring for pending sales in the area!!!!
WASHINGTON (April 28, 2014) – After months of stagnant activity, pending home sales rose in March, marking the first gain in the past nine months, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 3.4 percent to 97.4 from an upwardly revised 94.2 in February, but is 7.9 percent below March 2013 when it was 105.7.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a gain was inevitable. “After a dismal winter, more buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,” he said. “Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy.”
The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.4 percent to 78.8 in March, but is 5.9 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index slipped 0.8 percent to 94.5 in March, and is 10.1 percent below March 2013. Pending home sales in the South rose 5.6 percent to an index of 112.7 in March, but are 5.3 percent below a year ago. The index in the West increased 5.7 percent in March to 91.0, but is 11.1 percent below March 2013.
Although home sales are expected to trend up over the course of the year and into 2015, this year began on a weak note and total sales are unlikely to match the 2013 level.
Existing-home sales are expected to total just over 4.9 million this year, below the nearly 5.1 million in 2013. However, with ongoing inventory shortages in much of the U.S., the national median existing-home price is expected to grow between 6 and 7 percent in 2014.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE: Existing-home sales for April will be reported May 22, the next Pending Home Sales Index will be May 29, and first quarter metropolitan area home prices will be published May 12; release times are 10:00 a.m. EDT.
Second home properties are selling!!! Is it time for you to buy that Rangeley, Maine real estate as your vacation home? This article makes the case for buying now.
This is from the National Association of Realtors’ website at Realtor.org.
WASHINGTON (April 2, 2014) – Vacation home sales rose strongly in 2013, while investment purchases fell below the elevated levels seen in the previous two years, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey,* covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2013, shows vacation-home sales jumped 29.7 percent to an estimated 717,000 last year from 553,000 in 2012. Investment-home sales fell 8.5 percent to an estimated 1.10 million in 2013 from 1.21 million in 2012. Owner-occupied purchases rose 13.1 percent to 3.70 million last year from 3.27 million in 2012. The sales estimates are based on responses from households and exclude institutional investment activity.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun expected an improvement in the vacation home market. “Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” he said. “However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006.”
Vacation-home sales accounted for 13 percent of all transactions last year, their highest market share since 2006, while the portion of investment sales fell to 20 percent in 2013 from 24 percent in 2012.
Yun said the pullback in investment activity is understandable. “Investment buyers slowed their purchasing in 2013 because prices were rising quickly along with a declining availability of discounted foreclosures over the course of the year,” he said.
“In 2011 and 2012, investment property was a no-brainer because home prices had sharply over corrected during the downturn in many areas, creating great bargains that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals. With a return to more normal market conditions, investors now have to evaluate their purchases more carefully and do their homework,” Yun added.
The median investment-home price was $130,000 in 2013, up 13.0 percent from $115,000 in 2012, while the median vacation-home price was $168,700, up 12.5 percent from $150,000 in 2012.
All-cash purchases remained fairly common in the investment- and vacation-home market: 46 percent of investment buyers paid cash in 2013, as did 38 percent of vacation-home buyers.
Of buyers who financed their purchase with a mortgage, large downpayments continued to be the norm in 2013. The median downpayment for investment buyers was 26 percent, while vacation-home buyers typically put 30 percent down.
Forty-seven percent of investment homes purchased in 2013 were distressed homes, as were 42 percent of vacation homes.
Lifestyle factors remain the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers, while rental income is the main factor in investment purchases.
The typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old, had a median household income of $85,600 and purchased a property that was a median distance of 180 miles from his or her primary residence; 46 percent of vacation homes were within 100 miles and 34 percent were more than 500 miles. Buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 6 years, down from 10 years in 2012.
Five percent of vacation-home buyers had already resold their property, while another 9 percent plan to sell within a year. “This reflects the 28 percent of recreational property buyers who said they purchased to diversify investments or saw a good investment opportunity,” Yun said.
Buyers listed many reasons for purchasing a vacation home: 87 percent want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat, 31 percent plan to use it as a primary residence in the future, 28 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, 23 percent plan to rent to others and 22 percent intend it for use by a family member, friend or relative.
Forty-one percent of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South, 28 percent in the West, 18 percent in the Northeast and 14 percent in the Midwest.
Investment-home buyers in 2013 had a median age of 42, earned $111,400 and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 20 miles.
Fifty percent of investment buyers said they purchased for rental income, 34 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, and 22 percent bought for a family member, friend or relative to use – often to house a son or daughter while attending college.
Seven percent of homes purchased by investment buyers last year have already been resold, and another 10 percent are planned to be sold within a year. Overall, investment buyers plan to hold the property for a median of 5 years, down from 8 years in 2012.
Thirty-eight percent of investment properties purchased last year were in the South, 25 percent in the West, 18 percent in the Northeast and 19 percent in the Midwest.
More than eight out of 10 second-home buyers, both for vacation and investment homes, said it was a good time to buy.
Approximately 43.4 million people in the U.S. are ages 50-59 – a group that dominated second-home sales in the middle part of the past decade and established records. An additional 42.7 million people are 40-49 years old, which is the historic prime age range for purchasing second homes, while another 40.4 million are 30-39 years of age.
NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 8.0 million vacation homes and 43.7 million investment units in the U.S., compared with 74.7 million owner-occupied homes.
NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, conducted in March 2014, includes answers about 2,203 homes purchased during 2013 from a representative panel of 2,008 U.S. households. The survey controlled for age and income, based on information from the larger 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, to limit any biases in the characteristics of respondents.
The 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online at www.realtor.org/prodser.nsf/Research. The report is free to NAR members and costs $149.95 for non-members.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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*Vacation homes are recreational property purchased primarily for the buyer’s (or their family’s) personal use, while investment homes are residential property purchased primarily to rent to others, or to hold for other financial or investment purposes.
Thinking about listing some real estate in Rangeley, Maine, this article can help get your property ready.
Ever heard the phrase, “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?” When it comes to selling your home and boosting curb appeal to the widest range of buyers, the distance you need to think about is far less than a mile: it simply runs from your front curb to your back fence. The moment you even begin to think of putting your home up for sale is the time to start thinking like a buyer.
Because thinking like a buyer will help you make your home move-in ready for just the right buyer (or maybe even a bevy of bidding buyers). The less they think they have to change, the shorter the distance will be between the viewing, their offer, and the day you say, “Sold.”
- Host a pre-listing party. Invite a few (and I mean a few) trusted friends over for an inventory. Make some cocktails and go from room to room in your home asking what they would either (A) change if they were to buy your house, or (B) see as a red flag if they were a potential buyer. This can give you an extra set of non-real-estate-influenced eyes on your home and help you create a solid list of potential improvements to discuss with your Realtor before you list.
- Consult with a great agent. Now that you have your friends’ opinions, run them by an expert. See which problems you should address before listing and which fixes won’t be of financial benefit. If you don’t have an agent yet, try this new tool from Trulia; it’ll give you a free estimate of your home’s value and connect you with an agent who can help you sell your home.
- De-clutter. Closets get full. Extra pieces of furniture get crammed into corners. Bookshelves overflow with odds and ends. Help the potential buyers see your actual home and not the stuff in your home by moving out the extras. Every closet in your home should show off the entirely of the storage space. Every room of your home should scream “possibilities” instead of “I can’t fit one more thing in here.” Try renting a portable storage unit that can be delivered to your home. This way, you can box up extras, and they’ll be ready to be delivered to your next dream home. In the meantime, you’ll be making room for someone else’s dreams.
- Clean out the garage. The future owners of your home want to know that their cars can fit into the garage. While it might seem harsh (and everyone you know uses the garage for storage), no one wants to see the garage filled to the brim with bike parts, boxes, and haphazard clutter. Remember that portable storage unit? Move it on out and make some room for folks to imagine parking their dream car on the left hand side.
- Think neutral. It’s hard for potential buyers to see themselves in a home that has you written all over it. This goes for brightly painted walls, wall murals, and wallpaper trim. Since your home is soon to not be your home anymore, consider taking any brightly or bold-colored walls or those areas with specialty wallpaper or mural trim back to neutral. A simple beige satin wall paint with a semi-gloss white or off-white pain trim can do wonders for giving potential buyers the “blank canvas” feeling. You want future owners to be dreaming of picking out paint — not how to get rid of not-right-for-them color decisions.
- Grout, tile, and natural stone restoration. Have your bathrooms and kitchen counters lost their luster? You might want to look into having them refreshed (and it’s much less expensive than having them redone). Check sites like Angie’s List for contractors in your area offering deals for natural stone, tile, and grout restoration. For not a lot of money, you can kick up the shine on your tiling and counters and get that long-neglected grout back to clean. That “exploding pizza” incident in your kitchen and that red hair dye on your white bathroom grout could be history in an afternoon — and on a dime.
- Make those hardwood floors spiffy. Send the kids off to the park and the pets off to doggie daycare for the day, and get those floors gleaming. Wash all surfaces with a simple mild, soapy water first (avoid Murphy’s Oil Soap — it leaves a residue). Next, use a hardwood floor polish like Bona or a product like Rejuvenate to bring the beauty back — and all for under $40-$50 for the average sized home. Be sure to use the cleaners recommended by each product to prevent buildup and to keep the shine going through your whole listing. There’s nothing that can kill a deal like your perfect buyer thinking that they have to refinish a few thousand square feet of hardwood. Help them see hope, not hardwood-related dollar signs. A trip to your local home improvement store can yield some recommendations for your specific types of floors and the desired sheen you want to achieve.
Erika Napoletano is a snarky author, columnist, speaker, and branding strategist, hailed by Forbes as a “spinless spin doctor” for her BS-free perspectives on business, marketing, branding, and life in general. She’s a twice-published author, including The Power of Unpopular (Wiley 2012), a columnist for both Entrepreneur Magazine and American Express OPEN Forum, an acclaimed speaker from TEDx Boulder 2012, and speaks at conferences across the U.S. on the inherent power of truth in business… or as she refers to it, the power of unpopularity.
Thinking about buying some Rangeley, Maine real estate.
Here are some answers to questions about appraisals– Be an educated buyer. Talk with one of our brokers and let us represent you in a sale. There are no fees for representation.!!!!
Rangeley Real Estate can offer financial benefits, particularly now at tax season– take a look at these suggestions. Remember this is a great time to invest. Prices are low, buyers are motivated and interest rates are low!!!!!
The financial benefits of homeownership are evident year round, but particularly around tax time – they seem to jump off the page. Let’s examine how homeownership makes “cents” – from the tax benefits, to good old fashioned financial stability.
1. Homeownership Builds Wealth Over Time
We were always taught growing up that owning a home is a financially savvy move. Our parents knew it, and their parents knew it. But this past decade of real estate turbulence has shaken everyone’s confidence in homeownership. That is why it’s so important that we discuss this again now that we’re in a ‘new market.’ Homeownership can be a very savvy financial move – but only if people buy homes they can actually afford. In 2014, this idea of sticking to a home you can afford to gradually build wealth is a “rule” that just happens to be new and old at the same time.
2. You Build Equity Every Month
Your equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on it. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe. That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity. That is especially true now with the elimination of risky mortgages like negative amortized and interest-only loans – thanks to the new “Qualified Mortgage” rules. The way mortgages work is that the principal portion of your payment increases slightly every month year after year. It’s lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. Thus, as the months and years go by, your equity grows!
3. You Reap Mortgage Tax Deduction Benefits
- Mortgage deduction: The tax code allows homeowners to deduct the mortgage interest from their tax obligations. For many people this is a huge deduction, since interest payments can be the largest component of your mortgage payment in the early years of owning a home.
- Some closing cost deductions: The first year you buy your home, you are able to claim the points (also called origination fees) on your loan, no matter whether they are paid by you or the seller. And because origination fees of 1 percent or more are common, the savings are considerable.
- Property tax is deductible: Real estate property taxes paid on your primary residence and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes.
4. Tax Deductions on Home Equity Lines
In addition to your mortgage interest, you can deduct the interest you pay on a home equity loan (or line of credit). This allows you to shift your credit card debts to your home equity loan, pay a lower interest rate than the horrendously exorbitant credit card interest rates, and get a deduction on the interest as well.
5. You Get a Capital Gains Exclusion
If you buy a home to live in as your primary residence for more than two years then you will qualify. When you sell, you can keep profits up to $250,000 if you are single, or $500,000 if you are married, and not owe any capital gains taxes. Now, it may sound ridiculous that your house could be worth more than when you purchased it after these past several years of falling house prices. However, if you purchased your home anytime prior to 2003, chances are it has appreciated in value and this tax benefit will come in very handy.
6. A Mortgage Is Like a Forced Savings Plan
Paying that mortgage every month and reducing the amount of your principal is like a forced savings plan. Each month you are building up more valuable equity in your home. In a sense, you are being forced to save—and that’s a good thing.
7. Long Term, Buying Is Cheaper than Renting
In the first few years, it may be cheaper to rent. But over time, as the interest portion of your mortgage payment decreases, the interest that you pay will eventually be lower than the rent you would have been paying. But more importantly, you are not throwing away all that money on rent. You gotta live someplace, so instead of paying off your landlord’s home or building, pay off your own!
As always, you must look very hard at your personal situation before making the big decision to buy. Stay tuned to Trulia Tips as we explore more on this topic.
ALL: What’s your favorite benefit of home ownership?
Michael Corbett is Trulia’s real estate and lifestyle expert. He hosts NBC’s EXTRA’s Mansions and Millionaires. In additional to his regular segments on ABC’s The View and Fox News, he is a national best selling author with three critically acclaimed real estate books: Find It, Fix It, FLIP IT!; Ready, Set, SOLD! and Before You BUY!
With the cold winter this year, we need some ideas for saving enrgy. For Rangeley you may want to ignore the suggestions about air conditioning– rareley needed with the lake and mountain breezes!!!
Spring is the perfect time to think green. For some it’s spurred by the coming of Earth Day, others the renewed greening of our lawns. And many are motivated by the desire to save a little green in their wallets with a fresh new season of home repairs. If you’re one of these people, you can help save some green for the planet, as well as your hard-earned cash, by making energy efficient upgrades throughout your home.
Helping the world stay green gained traction with the first Earth Day held March 22, 1970, as declared by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. As a nation, much has been accomplished with the environmental movement, yet there are also easy things you can do at home to “go green” and save money at the same time. Here are some tips for home energy-efficient upgrades indoors and out.
When it comes to home energy bills, heating and cooling accounts for as much as half of the average home’s utility costs, according to energy.gov. Get ready for the hottest days of summer by tuning up your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system so it’s operating efficiently. Change your HVAC filters regularly. In addition, if your cooling system is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with one that has a Seasonal Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 20.00 for better savings. Trane’s XL20i, for example, can mean a savings of up to 60 percent on your annual cooling costs – that’s cool cash in your pocket.
Programmable temperature controls.
A programmable HVAC control can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent compared to traditional nonprogrammable thermostats. Today’s HVAC control systems, like the Trane ComfortLink II Control, now monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, plus home energy use over time, to help you manage energy and comfort even further.
Remember, water isn’t free. Indoors, lower water bills by installing low-flow water fixtures including toilets, showerheads and faucets. Outdoors, add a water-saving spigot for the garden hose. To avoid water evaporation, water your plants early or late in the day, and when your green lawn starts to grow, don’t mow too low. If you have lawn sprinklers, double check that they are set to water grass and shrubbery instead of the driveway or sidewalk. Rather than hose down your deck to clean it, save water by sweeping instead.
About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs, according to energy.gov – in fact, by just replacing five of your home’s most frequently used lights with energy efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared with traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescents can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six times longer. You can save even more energy and wasted heat by switching to LEDs. Outdoor lights using CFLs or LEDS save energy, too, so look for ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures designed for outdoor use.
By taking these steps, you can help make the world a little greener, keep your home a little greener, and save even more green where it really hits home – in your wallet.
Reports from economic sources indicate increasing prices nationally, but what about the Rangeley area.
The Maine Real Estate Statistics — January, 2014 Housing Report indicates a 9.83% increase in median sale prices for Franklin County comparing January, 2013 to January, 2014.
What does it mean for Rangeley buyers? It is likely that this is an indication of a changing market. New listings are getting priced higher because sale prices are higher. But the good news for buyers is that the % of properties sold did not rise for the winter quarter. With slow sales, motivated sellers are still looking for buyers and offers. That means good deals are still out there.
How long will it last? No way to know– but if you want that bargain, do not wait!!!!
Make your Rangley Home Easy Care– Some hints on how to have an open yard but low maintenance.
One of the first questions new empty nesters face is: what do we do with the nest? Some are eager to downsize and sell. Others like where they live and choose to stay put.
No matter the decision, the property, new or old, is likely in for a makeover aimed at making routine upkeep more manageable. One of the key areas to tackle is the yard and garden. The following are tips for transforming a yard’s maintenance-hungry features, especially the lawn, into alternatives that offer fun and functionality without the fuss.
Create no mow zones
The lawn is often a yard’s highest maintenance feature. One simple way to reduce lawn maintenance is to strategically stop mowing certain parts of the yard, while continuing to maintain more desirable areas. Un-mowed areas needn’t look messy. Delineate the divide between mowed lawn and wilder spaces with a strategically placed stone wall or wooden fence. Adding clusters of ornamental grasses or shrubs along the new lawn’s edge also works to soften the border transition. For a bit of fun, sow some un-mown areas with wildflower seeds. Add green trails for impromptu strolls or heart-pumping walks by cutting a circular path through the no-mow zone. Post birdhouses or feeders along the route for bird watching.
Swap some turf for landscape beds
Freestanding landscape islands of trees, shrubs, bulbs and perennials are appealing low-maintenance features that can reduce lawn area. Landscape beds are also a solution for difficult to maintain stretches like steep slopes, rough terrain and curbside strips. It’s important to cover exposed soil with mulch to stop weeds from growing. To go from low to practically no maintenance, sprinkle a weed preventer like Preen on top of mulch to stop weed seeds in the mulch itself from sprouting. Better yet, use Preen Mulch Plus, a premium bagged mulch with added weed preventers already mixed in. Available at Lowe’s stores and independent garden centers, it’s guaranteed to prevent more than 100 types of tough weeds, including dandelions, for up to six months.
Switch to lawn care “lite”
With less lawn why hang on to over-sized lawn care equipment? Today there are new compact choices scaled to yards under 1/4 acre including cordless electric mulching mowers, battery-powered edgers and programmable directional lawn sprinklers. There’s also a new spreader designed for small lawns, slopes and tight spaces that’s ergonomic too. The Ready2Go Spreader is a lightweight, hand-carried and battery-powered unit that comes pre-loaded with popular lawn products from Preen, Greenview or Vigoro to feed or treat up to 2,500 square feet. Each is refillable and pre-calibrated, so no settings are ever needed.
Deck the yard for fun and folly
Converting open spaces to outdoor entertaining areas is another way to reduce yard maintenance. Paved patios and decks make perfect places to sit, barbecue, dine or simply enjoy being outdoors. New composite decking, bricks and paving stones are definitely low upkeep installations. Other ideas include fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, gravel paths and terraces. Don’t just look at spots close to the house: come up with reasons to hang out in different parts of the yard.
Uncontained enthusiasm for containers
Downsizing elaborate garden beds is another area to explore. But don’t give up seasonal flowers: plant in containers. A booming trend among boomers, container plantings add accent color and seasonal drama to decks, patios, paths and other outdoor spaces. For lower maintenance choose fewer but bigger pots. Just a few large containers of colorful plants will have a major impact. They also retain soil moisture better than smaller pots and need watering less often. Except in coldest areas, large frost-resistant resin or fiberglass containers can be left out year-round. For long-term plantings, check plant labels for USDA winter hardiness zones. Potted plants are more exposed to the elements, so choose ones rated one zone colder than usual.
Life in an empty nest can be a time of rediscovery. Reducing lawn and garden upkeep is one way boomers can free up time for other more entertaining pursuits
Are you a single, hoping to invest or spend more time in Rangeley. Call us and we can find a great bargain property for a second home or an investment. The suggestions in the article below are a good place to start..
The American household has changed – big time. More and more, people get married later in life, if at all. Many even go from married to single and back multiple times throughout their lives. This all means that more and more people are buying homes while single. Many unmarried folks are buying homes to live in on their own, while others are looking for homes to live in with their children, parents or other partners – past, present and future.
If you’re embarking upon the process of buying a home on your own, here are a few things to factor into your thought process and your action plan:
1. Solo doesn’t necessarily mean condo. A decade or two ago, many single house hunters were automatically directed toward low-maintenance condos and townhomes. And truthfully, some singles still enjoy the tax and financial advantages of ownership without the responsibilities of caring for lawns, roofs and other so-called “single family home” features they have no use for.
That said, the descriptor of a detached, standalone property as a “single family home” is woefully out of date. Many single people are electing to purchase detached homes for a number of reasons. Chief among them include:
- Needing the square footage to allow their household to expand to include future partners, future children, adult children, or even elderly parents
- Needing extra rooms (or even extra apartments!) to rent out, do hobbies in or run a home business from, and
- Having the outdoor space for dogs, cats, horses and vegetable gardens, oh my!
If you are dreaming of a life in more of a home than your friends and family members think you can handle and you can well afford the home of your dreams, don’t be daunted. Reach out to other people in your circle of friends who are single and own either single family homes or condos and townhomes to get a sense for their experience. If you decide to go with a condo, make sure you read the HOA disclosures thoroughly and that you understand what you’re getting for your HOA dollars. (Hint: HOA dues often cover expenses you would pay out of pocket otherwise, like waste management fees, landscaping, building insurance and even roof and window maintenance.)
But if you do decide to go the single family home route, make sure you ask your circle (and your agent) for referrals to the contractors, gardeners and handyfolk who can make home maintenance on your own much more doable. It takes a village to maintain a home over the long run. So get a village!
2. Pay extra close attention to home inspections and home warranty provisions. Much of what’s scary about solo home ownership are the seeming risks around things that could go wrong. The most common such fear is a valid one: What happens if something goes wrong with the house? With just one income, it can be frightening to think of how rapidly a lemon of a house could rock your entire financial world.
There are a couple of tools you can build into your transaction that can massively mitigate just this risk. First, your home inspections. Most people think of home inspections as almost pass-fail: if they reveal devastatingly expensive issues, they back out of the deal. But if they don’t surface any fatal flaws, the deal is on.
Single home buyers should view their home inspections as the opportunity to spend a few more hours in the home, discovering its warts and all, before they move forward with the deal. Take special care to attend your inspections in person, ask the inspector to show you the issues they find while they’re on site. Read the reports and get any follow-up inspections or repair bids before your contingency period runs out. That way, you’ll have a concrete idea of the financial exposure to repairs that are needed right now while you can still either (a) negotiate to get the seller to chip in or (b) back out of the deal without penalty, if you need to.
The second tool is a largely underrated one: your home warranty plan. Most buyers get one, and often sellers pay for it. But what many buyers don’t realize is that (a) they can pay to upgrade the plan so that the warranty company will cover a wide assortment of future home repairs, and (b) they can and should renew their home warranty plan annually, in the future. Having the ability to ring up the home warranty company and spend $50 for a service call when your water heater, furnace, or plumbing goes on the fritz can dramatically reduce the fear factor of solo home ownership.
3. Consult with legal and financial pros before you buy with a relative, friend or partner. Buying a home with a friend, a parent, a sibling or even a life partner can seem like the cure for what ails a single person’s home buying situation. Namely, it injects additional financial resources, allows you to buy a pricier (read: larger, nicer, better located) property than you could on your own, and even positions you to have help making hard house hunt decisions and maintaining the place going forward.
Co-buying has big benefits, but it also poses some serious questions – questions that a lawyer, tax advisor or financial planner can help you anticipate and resolve, in advance, to avoid conflicts later. If you decide to go the co-buying route, make the investment of time and money up front to get some professional advice about how to structure the transaction and the financial relationship. Doing so, and reducing the agreement to a clear, professionally-drafted written contract that is recognized by and filed on record with the relevant state and local governments can go a very long way toward helping you avoid later damage to the interpersonal relationship with your co-buyer.