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Our mission at Shawna's Home Team is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Friday, June 16, 2017

3 Things Every First-Time Homebuyer Should Know

Buying your first home can be an incredibly exciting time. However, it requires a huge commitment and a sizable investment.

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I want to share my three top tips to help first-time homebuyers protect themselves during this crucial period:

1. Know what you can afford

Your mortgage is only a part of what you will need to pay when you buy a home. Homeownership comes with plenty of other expenses, including closing costs, taxes, property insurance, maintenance costs, and homeowner association fees.

Once you have a clear idea of how much all of these items will cost, you can compare it to your current monthly expenses. Then you can figure out the kind of home you can honestly afford without getting carried away and without getting bogged down in debt.

2. Choose your lender wisely

Choosing a lender is not something you should base only on the lowest rate. A competent and trustworthy lender will offer you advice on how to improve your credit and also help you take advantage of special homebuyer programs that might benefit you.

But how do you find the right lender specifically for you? It's often best to get recommendations from friends who have already worked with a lender or from a real estate agent you trust.

An inspection will cost about $300, but it can save you thousands.
3. Don't overlook the details

There are many details that go into buying a home, and missing any of them can be a costly mistake. I always advise buyers to get a professional inspection done on their home, separate from the appraisal. An inspection will set you back about $300, but it can save you thousands of dollars down the line, and it can even prevent you from making a decision to buy a home that you would later regret.

A second example is understanding the fine print in the various contracts you will be signing. If there's anything that isn't clear to you, talk to your real estate agent and have it spelled out.

The process of buying a home can be intimidating, and that's why professional real estate agents are there to help. These three quick tips are only the start of the things you need to watch out for when buying your first home.

If you need more advice or you are ready to start looking for a home, give me a call or send me an email. I love working with first-time homebuyers, and I can help you get your perfect new home with minimum hassle.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Get Your Home Sold If You Have a Pet

If you have a pet and you're looking to sell your home, then read on for some helpful advice.

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The good news is, many homebuyers are looking for a pet-friendly home.

Two out of three of us have a pet, and 61% of pet owners say they have trouble finding a home that is a good match for their pet.

In fact, a recent survey estimates that 31% of animal owners frequently don't put in an offer because a home would not suit their pet.

This means that if your home is a good match for a pet, it will be attractive to a large pool of dedicated animal owners.

On the other hand, 67% of Realtors also estimate that actually having a pet in your home can make it harder for you to sell.

So what can you do? Here are three things I typically recommend:

1. Repair any damage

Floors, walls, doors, the yard — these are some typical areas that pets love to chew, scratch, and dig up.

Repairing this damage is an investment that will pay for itself many times over in terms of a higher selling price.

2. Get a professional to remove pet odors

Many pet owners are less sensitive to odors in their home than prospective buyers will be.

Pet owners are less sensitive to odors in their home than prospective buyers are.
That's why you should hire a professional cleaning crew to clean any carpets, rugs, or upholstery that have absorbed pet odors.

Once you're done with the cleaning, ask a friend or your Realtor for a sniff assessment to make sure the job is really complete.

3. Take your pet out during showings

Some people are afraid of animals. Others are allergic. And regardless of the time, money, and effort you've put in to clean and repair your home, many buyers will be prejudiced by knowing that a pet currently lives there.

That's why I recommend taking your pet out during showings and also removing any pet objects such as toys, food bowls, or scratching posts.

By following these three simple guidelines, you will be able to sell your home for top dollar, whether the buyer is a pet owner or not.

And in case you have any questions or concerns about preparing your home for a sale, give me a call. I’m here to help.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

FHA Loans Aren't Just for First-Time Homebuyers

FHA mortgages are becoming increasingly popular in our market. These are the important facts you should know about this type of home loan if you're looking to buy a home in our market.

Selling your home? Get a free home valuation.
Buying a home? Search the complete MLS.

Do you know if you qualify for an FHA mortgage?

You may already know that the Indianapolis market is a super hot seller's market right now. Inventory is low and buyers are scrambling for properties, and the largest majority of buyers today are FHA buyers. However, FHA mortgages aren't just for first-time homebuyers. That's a common misconception.

FHA mortgages are government loans, not just first-time buyer loans. So how do you qualify?

For starters, you can't have more than one FHA loan at a time. If you currently own a property with an FHA mortgage, you'll need to refinance it to a conventional mortgage or sell the property if you want to buy another home with an FHA loan.

There are a few rare exceptions, however. For example, you might be able to get a second if you got one as a single buyer and then got married, had kids, and no longer fit in the home anymore but wanted to rent it out instead of selling it.

FHA loan amounts are now all the way up to $308,200.
For the most part, anyone can get an FHA mortgage as long as you have a credit score of 580 or higher and can make a down payment of 3.5%. That low down payment is one of the reasons FHA loans are so attractive right now; with interest rates so low, it doesn't cost buyers hardly anything to borrow money. It's smarter to possibly have your money earning more for you in other places rather than dumping it into your down payment.

Here's the kicker: FHA loan amounts are all the way up to $308,200.

We're seeing a lot of our sellers pleasantly surprised to find out that even though they're not first-time buyers, they can still qualify for an FHA mortgage for their next home. In fact, we recently helped a couple meet with a builder about a beautiful new $200,000 home that they're buying with an FHA loan.

If you have any questions about buying a home with an FHA loan or you're thinking about selling your house in the Indianapolis area, give me a call or send me an email soon. I'd love to help you out!