Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 4/11/2021

If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.

Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.

Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.

2. Set Homebuying Goals

Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.

Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.

In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.

A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.

As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.

Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/7/2021

Entering the real estate market and buying your dream home may seem simple at first. However, problems may arise that make it tough to secure your ideal house at a price that matches your budget.

When it comes to finding the right home at the right price, it helps to prepare. Fortunately, we're here to help you get ready to enter the housing market and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly discover your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the homebuying process.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

Purchasing a house is rarely easy, particularly for a property buyer who has no idea how to kick off a home search. But if you establish homebuying criteria, you can speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Allocating time and resources to create homebuying criteria is essential because it forces you to consider where you want to live and what amenities you want to find in your dream residence. Plus, once you have homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can start your home search and move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

2. Obtain Home Financing

Home financing is paramount, particularly for property buyers who want to avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase a house. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you secure the financing you need to buy a home.

Typically, a lender will meet with you and outline your mortgage options. It also will explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and respond to any of your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, after you review your mortgage options, a lender will help you make an informed home financing decision.

Don't wait to get home financing, either. If you have home financing in hand when you launch a home search, you may be better equipped than other buyers to quickly submit an offer to purchase a home.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to avoid challenges throughout the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert and is happy to assist you as you proceed along the homebuying journey. If you are interested in houses in specific cities and towns, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that become available in these areas. Or, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. Best of all, if you have homebuying concerns, a real estate agent will address them right away.

Ultimately, buying a house can be easy. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the homebuying cycle.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 2/21/2021

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Common-interest housing includes individually owned spaces and common areas shared by all owners. The common areas can include clubhouses, landscaping, parking lots or pools. Multistory buildings share lobbies, stairwells, and elevators. Any community that shares property including single-family free-standing homes in developments, falls into the common-interest category. 

The two most familiar types of common-interest housing terms are condominiums (or condos) and townhomes (or townhouses). Although both belong in the category of common-interest housing, condos and townhouses may mean different things depending on regional or legal definitions.

The Difference

A condo is a shared building or group of buildings and common spaces in which housing units are owned individually. This could be a single unit within a tower building or a conjoined home having its own ground floor with exterior entry. Other homes in the condominium category include single-family cottages or even modular homes inside planned communities. When you purchase a condo, you own the unit itself while you are a co-owner of the common areas.

A townhome is a style of house that is connected to another structure on at least one side. It may be solely owned by an individual as part of a CID, part of a multi-family apartment dwelling, or individually owned without property in common. A true townhome is built with independent sidewalls that stand alone even if they touch the walls of another townhome. When you purchase a townhouse, you own the unit itself and whatever yard area is affiliated with it as you would with a detached single-family house.

While condominium units might incorporate elements like private outdoor spaces, individual ground-floor entry options or design elements that resemble those of a townhome, it is ownership that truly defines them. 

Homeowners’ Association 

All CID properties have a homeowners’ association (HOA) of some sort. While some are mainly hands-off with regard to individual units, others have specific regulations regarding renting, remodeling, and exterior décor. 

If you are trying to decide between purchasing a condominium or a townhouse, have your agent explain the differences in common ownership between them, and make certain to factor in the HOA fees to your monthly budget.




Tags: Buying a home   condo   townhome  
Categories: home buying  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/31/2021

Whether you’re shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.

With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features you’re looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.

In this article, we’re going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house you’re looking at to get a better idea of whether or not it’s the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If you’re like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.

Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listing’s pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.

2. Do your online research

The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:

  • School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what your options are for your child’s education. It’s often a good idea to check out the local schools’ websites to see what

  • Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isn’t always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but it’s a good place to start.

  • Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--you’ll want to know what’s in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things you’ll want close by.

  • Street view. While we’re on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.

  • Crime ratings. Don’t get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area you’re moving to is a safe place

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, don’t be shy when you arrive. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to be a burden in someone else’s home. But remember--if you’re considering living there someday you’ll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/20/2020

If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, there is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Because if you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house. As a result, you'll be able to map out your home search based on your property buying budget.

There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a great mortgage prior to launching a house search. These include:

1. Learn About Your Mortgage Options

Banks and credit unions offers a wide range of mortgage options. If you meet with these financial institutions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.

As you assess your mortgage options, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can make an informed decision about a mortgage and decide which option will serve you well in the years to come.

2. Ask Mortgage Questions

If you are uncertain about what differentiates one mortgage option from another, it is important to remember you are not alone. Fortunately, you can ask mortgage questions to home financing professionals to determine which mortgage option is right for you.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Thus, if you discuss your mortgage concerns with home financing specialists, you can get the guidance you need to choose the best mortgage based on your individual needs.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score may have far-flung effects on your ability to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you analyze your credit score, you can determine if you need to take steps to improve this score before you apply for a mortgage.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can analyze your credit score at your convenience.

If you have outstanding debt on your credit report, you may want to pay this off as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you pay off outstanding debt, the sooner you can bolster your credit score.

In addition, if you identify any errors on your credit report, notify the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes before you submit a mortgage application.

As you get set to apply for a mortgage and conduct a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can provide expert guidance as you pursue your dream residence. He or she will help you find a house that matches your budget, attend home showings and much more.

Ready to launch a comprehensive home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to establish a budget for the homebuying journey.




Tags: mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Buying a Home   Mortgage