Andrea Kenney - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan



Posted by Andrea Kenney on 9/11/2017

A real estate agent is a must-have for homebuyers, particularly in a highly competitive housing market. However, it is important to understand what it takes to work with a real estate professional to ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

What does it take to get the best results from the homebuying journey? Here are three rules to follow so that you and your real estate agent can work together to find your dream house.

1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations Before You Begin Your Home Search

Buying a home can be a long, costly process if you're not careful. But with the right real estate agent at your side, you can simplify your house search.

Ultimately, you should work with a real estate agent to establish clear-cut homebuying expectations before you embark on your search for the perfect residence. This will enable you and your real estate agent to work together to achieve a common goal.

With realistic homebuying expectations, you'll be able to help your real estate agent understand what you'd like to find in your dream residence. Meanwhile, your real estate agent can get to work and keep you up to date about available homes that will meet or exceed your expectations.

2. Understand Your Real Estate Agent's Role in the Homebuying Process

A real estate agent should define his or her role in the homebuying process. That way, you'll know exactly what to expect as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. He or she also should be available to respond to your questions throughout the homebuying journey.

Your real estate agent will be happy to assist you in any way possible. By doing so, he or she will make it simple for you acquire to acquire your ideal residence at a price that matches your budget.

3. Ensure That Both You and Your Real Estate Agent Are Comfortable Working with One Another

Communication plays a key role in the success of a homebuyer and his or her real estate agent. If you keep the lines of communication open with your real estate agent, you should have no trouble staying on top of the housing market.

In most instances, a real estate agent will be able to keep in touch with a homebuyer via phone, email and text. At the same time, you should try to remain available to your real estate agent as much as possible.

With ongoing communication with your real estate agent, you'll be able to stay informed as new properties become available that fit your homebuying criteria. Furthermore, your real estate agent can help you alleviate stress by listening to your homebuying concerns at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Many real estate professionals are available in cities and towns nationwide. Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to discovering your dream home.




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Posted by Andrea Kenney on 8/28/2017

Are you ready to buy your first home? Although you may conduct plenty of research, know your budget and understand what you want to find in your first residence. Problems may arise along the way that could force you to rethink your homebuying plans. So what does it take to ensure your first home purchase will be a successful one? Here are three lessons that every first-time homebuyer needs to know: 1. Purchase a home only when you're comfortable with your decision. Let's face it – buying a home can be stressful, regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or have purchased multiple residences in the past. As a result, stress can be problematic, and it ultimately may lead you to buy a home before you're ready to do so. In a stressful homebuying situation, be sure to take a step back and explore all of the options at your disposal. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of committing to buy a home in the heat of the moment. When in doubt, don't be afraid to consult with family members, friends and, of course, your real estate agent. A strong support system can make a world of difference for a first-time homebuyer, and it might even help you eliminate stress throughout the homebuying process. 2. Put aside money for home improvements. Budgeting for a home can be tricky. Ideally, you'll want to be able to put at least a few thousand dollars down on your purchase. You'll also want to ensure that you're in great shape financially to handle your mortgage payments. At the same time, you should try to put money aside for potential home improvements. Although you've conducted an extensive home inspection, there are no guarantees that your home will maintain its quality for an extended period of time. As such, having a "rainy day fund" will ensure you're ready to handle numerous home improvement projects down the line. Adding money to your rainy day fund each month can deliver long-lasting benefits. This will allow you to be ready for any home improvement issues that may arise, along with avoiding the anxiety commonly associated with finding the finances to afford home repairs. 3. Understand the ups and downs of the real estate market. What you pay for your home today may not be what it's worth tomorrow. In fact, the real estate market fluctuates frequently, so you'll want to understand that your house's value will change in the years following your purchase. In many cases, the value of your home will rise over the years. But in some situations, it may fall. Remember, buying a home is a major decision and is not without risk. Even though you might expect your home's value to skyrocket, you'll still need to take care of your house. Maintaining your residence will boost your chances of increasing its value, regardless of the real estate market. However, you need to be aware that a buyer's market can change into a seller's one at a moment's notice, so there is always a chance that your house's value will go up and down periodically. Be a prepared homebuyer, and you can minimize problems as you explore the real estate market for your first residence. Thus, you'll be better equipped to find a house that fulfills your needs and will serve you well for years to come.





Posted by Andrea Kenney on 8/21/2017

For the generation that grew up at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, buying a home is a scary concept. Many young people in the 18-34 age range are dealing with high rent, a poor job market, unpaid internships, and student loans the size of a home loan. Yet, others are finding their footing and realizing that owning a home is advantageous in the long run. If you're thinking of delving into the world of home ownership for the first time here's a crash course in Home Buying 101.

Figure out your finances

You should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
  • Total monthly income
  • Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
  • Total monthly savings
  • Total savings and assets
  • Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
When crunching these numbers you should (hopefully) find that your income is higher than your expenditures and your savings should account for most of the difference. If your savings is lower than it should be, you either missed something on the expenditures list or you are spending more than you should be if you want to buy a home. Down Payments Down payments on a home, post-financial crisis, range from anywhere between 0-25 percent of the price of the home, 20 being the median. A down payment ideally shouldn't break your savings in case you have any unforeseen expenses once you buy your home. Moving is time-consuming and can be pricey, so you'll need to account for this in your finances.

Lock Down Your Financing

There are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.

Finding and buying your home

Once you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.  





Posted by Andrea Kenney on 7/24/2017

Buying a home can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience, especially if it's your first time. Many first time homebuyers go into the process with little preparation other than financial planning. One great tool to have if you're entering the housing market for the first time is a timeline to owning your first home.

Why you need a timeline

There are innumerable benefits to having a timeline for buying a home. There's are several steps and a lot of information to remember during the buying process. Having a timeline will make sure you stay on top of those steps. Knowing that you're keeping up with your end of the deal will help you feel more relaxed and confident as you enter into this important step of your life. It will relieve anxieties that you are forgetting something or that you are overwhelmed and behind on the process.

Before you start...

There are a number of helpful tools to making a timeline. If you're the type who is constantly on your laptop or smartphone, you can keep your timeline in a document or spreadsheet there and make sure it's synced up between your devices so you can refer to it when needed. If you're more of an App kind of person, there are several apps on the market for helping you keep on schedule. They'll give you updates periodically and remind you when an upcoming task is due. Do you still keep a hard copy planner and carry it in your bag wherever you go? If so, consider drawing up a physical timeline that you can refer to. Just make sure you write it in pencil because you will invariably need to update it now and then.

Dates for your timeline

Here are some items you should strongly consider putting on your home buying timeline. Everyone's timeline is different because each person has their own requirements when it comes to how soon they want to move. Give yourself realistic dates and look ahead on the calendar to make sure your items don't conflict with holidays or upcoming vacations. TIMELINE ITEMS
  1. Consider more than finances. Before contacting realtors or even before browsing listings online think about your own goals. If you're moving with another person think about your futures and where your careers may take you. The first date on your timeline should be a long discussion about the future and what you would like it to look like.
  2. Crunch the numbers. Consider your savings, expenses, current income, and projected income. As a general rule, don't look into buying homes over 2-3 times your income.
  3. Research lenders. Odds are you'll have a mortgage for quite some time, therefore you'll want to make sure your relationship with your lender is ideal. Read reviews, speak with several lenders, and talk to your friends and family about their experiences.
  4. Research insurance. The sooner you know how much you'll be paying in insurance the better.
  5. Get pre-approved.  Doing this early tells home sellers that you are a qualified buyer.
  6. House hunt. This is the fun part. Give yourself plenty of time to consider options.
  7. Make an offer. Consider the features of the home, the cost of he homes in the neighborhood, and the seller's disposition toward the home (whether they need to sell it quickly or are just testing the water).
  8. Double check your contracts. Re-read all of your paperwork and make copies/back it up.





Posted by Andrea Kenney on 5/29/2017

If you want to buy a home in the near future, you’re going to need to really focus on the goal. Buying your first home is no small feat. There are a few habits that you’ll want to start right away once you decide that you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership. 


Make Savings Automatic


If you’re going to start saving for all of the expenses that buying a home brings, the best thing that you can do is automate your savings. The down payment is usually more money than most people can even plan for. If you have a small amount of each paycheck go into a dedicated account for the house fund, you’ll be in better shape financially. You can never start saving too early or too much. The goal is to save as much as you possibly can. Put the money in a place where you won’t have easy access to it. If you don’t see it, you won’t spend it! 


Check Your Credit Score


Your credit report is one of those things that can’t be magically fixed. It takes some time and a little work to keep your credit score up. You’ll need to make sure that you make on-time payments each and every month. If there are any glaring mistakes on the report, you’ll need to fix them, as it could take some time for any changes to show up. The most important thing is to keep your credit record clean by making on-time payments, refraining form opening too many new accounts, and paying down any outstanding debt. Once you check your credit score and see what you have to work with, you’ll be in good standing in no time. 


Become A DIYer


When you move into a home, there’s a lot that may need to be done. If you can do some of the work yourself, instead of hiring contractors and other people, you may be able to save some money. This wouldn’t include anything dangerous like electrical work or complicated plumbing issues. There are plenty of projects that you can safely take on in a home that will save money and keep your home in great shape. 


Learn To Budget


Owning a home can actually be cheaper than renting in some cases. If you learn to budget, factoring in things like food, utilities, and how much you spend on entertainment, you’ll see how much you have to work with. See how much you’re spending and then decide where you can cut down costs from there. You’ll find more money that you can be saving towards a home. The best part about buying a home is that you own it! There is no middle man telling you what you can and cannot do in a space.




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