Home Search Tools & Tips

Searching for a home is exciting. There’s nothing quite like the zing of energy you get from finding out the exact type of home you’re looking for has gone on the market or opening up your email to find that there are four amazing open houses this weekend. After you’ve checked off the necessary boxes and determined you’re ready to buy a home, it’s time to begin your home search.

The search is, without a doubt, the most fun part of the home buying process. It can get a little overwhelming, especially when there are too many options, so narrowing your options down by your budget, neighborhoods, bedrooms and bathrooms, and size makes the pool a little bit smaller, and more focused on what you want and need.

To make the search process easy, painless, comprehensive, and fun, I’ve rounded up the best resources, tools and tips to help you find your dream home.

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Think You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home? Here are the 5 Ways to Know You’re Ready

 

Buying Your First Home in Philadelphia Kitchen

 

What originally brought you to Philadelphia? Whether you grew up here, went to college in the Philadelphia region and never left, or moved to the city for a job, you know this city is the best. You’ve fallen in love with Philadelphia and have decided to plant roots. It’s time to take the steps forward to owning your own home. 

Where to Start

“Where do I start?” That’s the number one question I get from first-time home buyers, and it’s a valid one. Buying a home requires an immense amount of preparation. Interested in buying your first home in Philadelphia? Here are the five ways to know you’re ready:

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“What Do You Mean There’s Another Offer?”

Worried FaceBy Jon Miller, Realtor®

After months of searching, you’ve found the perfect house and you’re ready to make an offer. You’ve decided on your offer price and your getting ready to write the offer and have it sent over to the seller.

This is one of the most exciting times in the home buying process. You’ve seen hundreds of homes online. You’ve seen a dozen, or more, in person. This is the one that has everything that you’re looking for. All you have to do is get your offer in, maybe negotiate a bit, and get ready to move into your new home. Then, your agent calls.

“So, I just got off the phone with the seller’s agent and they have another offer in hand. They’re also expecting another to come in later tonight.”

After a brief silence you say, “What do we do?”

Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens a lot as real estate markets have shifted into seller’s markets. There’s a shortage of supply and a lot of demand. Recently, I had a client who made an offer on a house that had 10 other offers (it sold for more than the asking price). I tell buying clients that if they fall in love with a house that just hit the market there’s a good chance someone else has, too.

So, what can you do?

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What Buyers Need to Know about Multiple Offer Situations

By Jon Miller, Realtor®

Seller’s Markets are tough for buyers. There are few homes to choose from and home buyers often find themselves competing for homes. Knowing what to expect when competing with other buyers will help you put together your best possible offer and give you the best opportunity to have the winning bid.

Before getting into the strategies, it’s helpful to put yourself into the seller’s shoes to understand their position. Most sellers want to sell for the highest possible price and the smoothest possible transaction. Sellers typically don’t want to negotiate repairs or reduce the price after inspections. They also don’t want their sale to fall through due to financing or inspection issues leaving them to start over and re-list their home. Sellers may also want a quick sale so they don’t have to keep paying the mortgage or they may want a flexible timeline because they may still have to find their next home. Understanding the seller’s position, wants, and needs can go a long way when crafting your offer.

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Home Inspections: What Should Buyers Expect?


By Jon Miller, Realtor®

Home inspections are usually the most stressful part of buying a home after negotiating an agreement with a seller. Many home buyers aren’t sure what to expect from inspections and that can make the home inspection process especially difficult to deal with. The best ways to minimize stress during home inspections is to be prepared, to understand the process, and to understand what to expect from negotiations. There are a few key points to be aware of before getting into the details . . .

  • More home sales fall apart during the inspection process than at any other time during the home buying process.
  • There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Every home has issues. Some are major issues, some are minor issues.
  • Sellers aren’t required to make repairs, provide money for repairs, or fix anything. Those things may be negotiated.
  • Homes don’t pass or fail inspections. Inspections are an assessment of the condition of the home.

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The Suspended FHA Mortgage Insurance Rate Cut

By Jon Miller, Realtor®

Highlights

  • FHA Home Loans are government backed low-down payment and are often used by first-time home buyers and home buyers with lower incomes.
  • Borrowers pay a monthly insurance premium to protect the lender in the case of default on the loan.
  • The monthly insurance premium was reduced under the Obama Administration.
  • The new Administration suspended the reduction within hours of the inauguration.

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Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

How to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time

By Jon Miller, Realtor®

Sell First or Buy First?

There’s a lot to balance when buying and selling a home at the same time. And, there are plenty of things to take into consideration. The most important piece of the puzzle will be to find out if you’ll need to sell your current home in order to get a mortgage for your new home. Many homeowners won’t qualify for their new loan until their current home is sold. This often means that the sale of the current home and the purchase of the new home have to happen on the same day.

Many who are looking for a new home and currently own a home begin the process by searching for their next home before listing the current home for sale. This approach often leads to weeks or months of searching for the right home only to find out that they’re not ready to make a serious offer when that perfect home goes on the market. Few sellers will consider an offer that’s contingent on the sale of a home that isn’t on the market yet. They simply don’t know if that home will sell and, if it doesn’t, the sellers will have taken their home off the market and missed other opportunities to sell.

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What Do Buyers Need to Know about Home Sale Contingencies?

If you currently own a home and are getting ready to buy a new one, your offer may be contingent on the sale of your home. The home sale contingency allows you to get out of the purchase if your home doesn’t sell. It’s very risky for a seller to accept an offer with a home sale contingency, but there are many times when the contingency is necessary.

Why Are Home Sale Contingencies Risky for Sellers?

Contingencies allow buyers to get out of the purchase given certain situations. In the case of a home sale contingency, if your home doesn’t sell then you can be released from the contract. The seller will then have to find a new buyer, a process that can take weeks, or longer. If your home isn’t on the market yet, they won’t know if it will sell at all, or for a price that will allow you to buy their home, so there’s little reason to take their home off the market.

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Jon Miller, RealtorJon Miller is a resident of the Roxborough-Manayunk area and a Realtor® with Keller Williams Philadelphia. Each week Jon puts together a list of the best local events and activities which you can find here

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