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5 Useful Tips For Buying Real Estate

5 Useful Tips For Buying Real Estate

How to Hire a Realtor

Scot Ulmer

It’s important to note that buying a home is a process, and there are many steps that you have to take if you want to be as efficient as possible and find the right home for you. Finding a realtor will help make this process easier for you and your family (if you have one). Realtors who work best with your interests in mind will help find your next home, but finding the right realtor is also a process. Here are a few ways you should go about hiring a realtor:

First, check their references. It’s always a good idea to have a realtor that somebody you know personally recommended. But, even if the agent was personally recommended, the best way to approach any hiring situation is to interview the person. According to an article published by The Real Estate Network, “Realtors are going to bolster all of their success stories upon meeting you, but how accurate are those claims? Chat with their co-workers, and ask to speak with their last five clients” (6 Tips for Hiring a Realtor). Once you have a better idea about who the agent is that you will potentially be working with, you’re one step closer to hiring.

Next, you should ask the agent for a CMA (comparative market analysis) before you even begin looking at the housing market. This way, you’ll know if the realtor is trying to sell you homes that are reasonably priced. After you ask the agent for a CMA, check the information that he or she gives you on an authoritative real estate website like Zillow, which will also have the statistics.

Another way to decide on a real estate agent is deciphering how well he or she knows the area you’re searching in. According to The Real Estate Network:

“Discovering if being a real estate agent is this person’s only job, and finding out how well they know your target area is critical. If they’re a full-time realtor, they’re less likely to be distracted and let you slip through the cracks. Also, ask how many sales they’ve done in this specific area and try to get the details of those scenarios” (6 Tips for Hiring a Realtor).

In any real estate endeavor, as you probably have heard by now, location is the most crucial factor. If you’re working with somebody who doesn’t know the area too well, you may want to rethink about hiring a new realtor. Always ask questions like, “What’s the best restaurant?” or “What are some activities the locals do here on weekends?” to get a better sense of what the neighborhood is like.

In conclusion, finding a realtor is not as easy as you may think. It is a process that takes time and effort, but it will all be worth it in the end. Having a great agent makes the home-buying process much more comfortable in the long-run.


FHA Implements Strict Rules Against New Buyers

Those coming out of college or on their first job will be getting struck again — this time by the Federal Housing Administration. As if student loans aren’t supplying enough stress in young adults’ lives, the FHA has set some new boundaries and rigid barriers. If you’re fresh out of college and looking to purchase your first home, their rules may prevent you from doing so. According to FloridaRealtors, the FHA will no longer allow students’ debt to be deferred for the first year (at the least).

Also, 2% of your outstanding student loan will be taken into your DTI (debt-to-income) when trying to purchase a home and will be accounted for in your monthly payment. The DTI ratio is used to assess whether buyers/borrowers will be able to repay their loans. If you don’t make the cut, you won’t be purchasing a house.

Along with these, another rule that went into effect on September 14th will affect all of those looking for a new home. Borrowers will now need six months working at a job after an extended period of absence before they become eligible. No reason or excuse will be deemed fit enough to get around the rule. This includes raising children, which will not be popular among the public. Previously, children were viewed as an “acceptable employment situation.” The FHA devised the rule to magnify employment gaps and to tighten them.

Although these new rules will be strict on recent graduates and first-time homebuyers, they will help support the housing market overall and are intended to help prevent another crisis from happening like the 2008 housing market collapse.

All of the FHA’s intentions can be seen as necessary precautions, but time will tell if it aids the housing market by keeping it in the green zone or if it only creates more burdens for the new generation. For now, it appears this may mark the start of a more significant influx of grads moving into their parents’ houses. Hopefully, it is only a short delay on their journey.

Getting Value From Your Home Inspection

Though getting a home inspection may sound like an opportunity for buyers to find flaws and decrease the value of a particular piece of property, inspection is vital for any home and should be recognized as a valuable tool for buyers. According to, “While the inspection often results in the second round of negotiations, buyers should view the inspection as the introductions to their potential home,” (4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home Inspection). Here are ways you can use a home inspection to your advantage:

Scot Ulmer house inspection

The first step towards getting the most from your home inspection is to hire a professional inspector that your agent refers, or that somebody you know from the area has used. Though you may want to save money and hire a relative, getting an inspector who is familiar with the area you’re located in and has a strong background in different types of homes and systems is the best option for getting your house inspected.

Once you’ve hired a professional inspector, make sure you walk around the property with them so you can learn more about your home. According to, “You want to know and see firsthand where your water heater and electrical panel are. It’s easier to understand if you are there, in front of the inspector when he points something out, than to hear about it at the end,” (4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home Inspection). Knowing the details about your new home is vital because there will not be a landlord or super to call when things go wrong.

Scot Ulmer - getting value from a home inspection

Next, during the home inspection, make sure you have a list of all of the questions and concerns you may have about the house. Writing down these concerns will not only help you remember them, but it will also help you stay organized and prepared as a homeowner so that you can avoid potential mishaps in the future. Also, be sure to bring property disclosure documents to the inspection for information about the property from the local building department.

Lastly, the inspection should be used as a tool to formulate a maintenance plan for the property, especially if the previous owners did not maintain certain parts of the home properly. According to

“Changing the filter on the HVAC system, replacing old plumbing valves or monitoring leaks will help keep things working. Nobody wants a broken boiler in the middle of January, or their water heater to break mid-week. The inspection is a great way to learn about your home and what it will need going forward” (4 Tips for Getting Value From Your Home Inspection).

Making a maintenance checklist during the inspection will help you get prepared for what to expect while you’re living in your new home.

For more information on how to make the most out of a home inspection, check out’s article here.