Kate DeSimone's Blog
Video tours are not new to the real estate industry, but they have become a vital tool for home buyers and sellers trying to comply with social distancing requirements. Whether you are trying to sell your home, or you are searching for your forever home during efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, you will appreciate the value of video tours to help keep you on track to achieving your home real estate goals while minimizing risks for everyone involved.
3 Benefits of Home Video Tours
Businesses in all sectors and industries are taking advantage of the many technological tools available to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. In real estate, the ability to view and visit properties is a critical part of the process, making it vital that people embrace video tours. The ability to get an intimate view of a property without putting on a mask and leaving home is the core reason video tours are so important.
Here are three benefits of home video tours to show why everyone should consider this option.
1. Reduces the Need for Travel or Opening Homes
Busy home buyers and sellers searched for ways to save time long before COVID-19 became a reality. Real estate agents recommended the option of virtual tours to help reduce travel costs and avoid scheduling issues. However, a quick look at Google Trends data reveals that searches for "virtual visits" increased over the beginning and peak of COVID-19. With video tours, home sellers can continue virtually opening their homes to prospective buyers without unnecessarily amplifying risks to themselves and others. Home buyers can stay home, per officials' orders and recommendations.
2. Attracts More Interested Home Buyers
In the best of times, home buyers are selective about the homes they visit. It makes sense to pare down the selection to the top potential choices before heading out for a visit, so they frequently make the decision about keeping a home in the running from still photographs and discussions with the realtor. With a well-planned video tour, home sellers can showcase their home in a more realistic light. Video tours provide a more "real-time" feeling for home buyers, allowing them to spend time in the home with no pressure or time constraints. Further, these tours are likely to encourage home buyers to schedule a visit to confirm their informed hopes via the video presentation.
3. Decreases Stress for Everyone
Throughout the sale or purchase of a home, everyone has to continue working and performing daily activities, making in-person home tours stressful for everyone. Home sellers need to stop what they are doing and make sure the home is in clean and properly staged while home buyers need to take time away from work or a relaxing day at home to visit a home, sight unseen. The process becomes simpler and more effective, especially during the pandemic, allowing everyone to carry out daily tasks while still giving the home search the attention it deserves.
Video Tours Have Become an Important Tool in the Home Buying and Selling Process
Video tours are invaluable to the home buying and selling process in any environment, but during COVID-19, they allow everyone to stay on schedule with property goals without opening themselves up to risks.
If you want to own a home, it may be a good idea to enter the housing market sooner rather than later. That way, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.
Ultimately, there are three steps to buy a home:
1. Conduct an Extensive Home Search
The home search, aka "the fun part" of the homebuying journey, enables you to select a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.
During a home search, you'll want to attend open houses and home showings. These events will allow you to take an up-close look at a variety of residences.
Of course, don't forget to check out many home listings as well. These listings offer lots of details about a home and can help you differentiate an ordinary residence from your "dream" house.
You also may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand and narrow your home search accordingly.
2. Submit an Offer
If you find a house that you want to own, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. Because the longer that you hesitate to make a proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer will swoop in and acquire your dream house.
Prior to submitting a home offer, it often helps to conduct plenty of housing market research. Look at the prices of recently sold houses that are comparable to the residence that you'd like to buy. Then, you can put together a competitive offer that accounts for a house's condition as well as the current state of the housing market.
It is important to note that a seller has the right to accept, reject or counter your home offer. But if you submit a competitive initial offer on a house, you can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes."
3. Finalize Your Purchase
After a home seller accepts your offer, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home purchase. At this time, you'll want to conduct a home inspection to identify any potential problem areas and address such issues as soon as possible.
When it comes to buying a home, there is no need to forgo a home inspection. If you fail to complete an inspection, you risk buying a house that has underlying issues that you may need to mitigate down the line.
In the weeks leading up to closing day, you will want to have a trusted real estate advisor at your disposal. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you discover a great home and streamline the process of getting to closing day.
A real estate agent is happy to keep you up to date throughout the homebuying cycle. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, this housing market professional is happy to address them.
Purchase your perfect home – use the aforementioned steps, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.
In past housing markets, it was common for investors to flip houses. Unfortunately, when the housing bubble burst, many buyers couldn't update and sell the homes they'd bought. After a bit of a downturn, the trend has picked back up. However, savvy investors know that the housing market has much tighter margins than it has in the past. If you’re thinking about getting into the house-flipping game, consider the following tips as you get started.
Here are some tips to protect your potential investment:
Not every housing market is profitable: Many homes can be purchased, renovated, and potentially sold in every part of the country. But some locations do not have the sort of economic growth that makes property flipping viable. Know your market and local property values. Keep in touch with what’s happening in the community and be prepared with a plan B in case the home doesn’t sell.
Do your homework. There are fewer deeply discounted homes available to investors. Plan to pay the full price in cash but arrange a contingency to have the home inspected. If the inspection reveals issues, especially with primary systems such as electrical and plumbing, walk away. Or, offer the seller a lower price to account for needed repairs, and potentially get a better deal. Anything revealed during the inspection that the seller did not fix your responsibility to repair or replace before you can flip the property.
Respect your margins. Unlike in reality shows the profit made from buying and selling a home is not as large as it appears. When you find undervalued homes, you need a cushion built-in for the rehab. If the difference between what you paid and the new selling price is insignificant, it’s not a sound investment. Avoid purchasing property that requires thousands of dollars of repairs or upgrades. You'll end up with a lovely home, but little to no income to show from it.
Constantly monitor the inventory. Fewer homes on the market mean finding one with flip potential is more difficult.
Seek help from a professional
Maintain a close relationship with your real estate professional so that when potential homes come on the market, you’re the first to hear. Your real estate professionals know the local market. They watch the trends and know who is buying, who is selling, and who is holding. They also know which repairs and upgrades are essential to make a quick sale. Let them guide you.
Let's face it – hosting an open house may seem like a major hassle. Cleaning a home and getting it ready for an open house could prove to be costly and time-consuming. Plus, despite your best efforts to prep for an open house, there are no guarantees that the event ultimately will help you sell your residence.
Although hosting an open house initially may seem difficult, the advantages of holding an open house generally outweigh the disadvantages. In fact, there are many reasons why you should host an open house, and these include:
1. You can gain a competitive edge.
The real estate market is fierce, especially for sellers who are competing against one another for buyers' attention. Fortunately, an open house can help you gain an advantage over the home selling competition, as it enables you to show off your residence to large groups of potential buyers in a short period of time.
When it comes to selling a home, it helps to explore any competitive advantage that you can get. And if you host an open house, you may boost your chances of differentiating your home from the competition and generating lots of interest in your residence.
2. You can make it easy for buyers to picture what life would be like if they purchase your home.
A detailed home listing can make a world of difference for buyers. Yet a home listing alone probably won't drive buyers to instantly submit an offer to purchase your residence. Thankfully, an open house provides buyers with a stress-free opportunity to check out your house and determine whether to proceed with an offer.
Of course, during an open house, buyers can picture what it would be like if they own your residence. And if buyers like what they see, it may be only a matter of time before you finalize a home sale following an open house.
3. You can increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.
As a seller, you should strive to promote your residence to as many potential buyers as possible. With an open house, you'll be able to do just that.
An open house makes it simple to showcase your residence to dozens of prospective buyers at the same time. Meanwhile, the event empowers buyers to learn about your residence and gain deep insights into the condition of your house. And if a buyer is impressed with your residence after an open house, the likelihood increases that an offer could come your way soon that leads to a fast, profitable home sale.
As you try to sell your house, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent knows the ins and outs of selling homes and can teach you everything you need to know about how to host a successful open house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you achieve the optimal results at each stage of the home selling journey.
It's time to find the perfect place of your own but becoming a property investor has one significant roadblock: a down payment. It’s something that can stop potential home buyers in their tracks.
While winning the lottery or inheriting a windfall would be fabulous, you don’t need those luxuries before you can buy a home. What you do need is a budget that gives you a strategy for saving while still attending to daily expenses. The challenge is that once you create the budget, you must protect it from the temptation to stray from it while you work toward homeownership.
Here are some proven savings tips AND the budget-busters to avoid along the way:
Strategies for Saving
Detached account. While it seems obvious, many people lack even one savings account. If you already have an account, open a separate one specifically for your down payment. Make sure that it is detached from your other accounts. Having a savings account designated specifically for your down payment may get you to think before dipping into it whenever other expenses arise.
Different bank. You can open an account at the same institution where you have a checking account but doing so makes it easy to move money back into your spending account. Open an account at a credit union or savings bank to which you'd have to make a special trip to remove funds.
Direct deposit. Have the down payment part of your paycheck deposited directly to your savings account. You'll avoid having immediate access to it. If you don't see it in your checking account, you are less likely to spend it.
Establish a Budget
Now that you have established a place to save funds, you need to create a budget to handle your remaining income. Many online programs will help you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. They are often free or low fee to use, and some give you access to a financial planner at a small cost. Here are some to get you started:
Many people resist living by a budget because it feels too restrictive. The notion that your budget monitors your spending keeps many from reaching even first-level financial goals. Money is a tool to help you get what you truly desire. If you wish to own a home, eliminate these budget-busters that will keep you from getting there:
Overpriced drinks. If your caffeine habit racks up more than $10 every day, consider cutting that expense in half. If you saved five dollars each day, you could add $1825 to your down payment account by year’s end.
Eating out. Just like a daily coffee break, restaurants and fast food meals can easily break a budget. Studies show the average American spends over $250 each month eating out. If that sounds like you, eat out half as often and bank another $125 each month. Over 12 months, that’s $1500 more towards your down payment.
Clothes. Many offices allow casual dress so spending on clothes for work might not be necessary. If you work in an environment that requires professional attire, purchase a few high-quality pieces that you can style in different ways with lower-cost items.
Expensive vacations. The travel bug bites in every season. Even a cheap flight with a hotel and rental car can result in a fairly large expense. Instead, you may opt for a getaway that is within driving distance while you’re working through your savings plan.
These budget-busters could add up to $6000 or more annually. That could be enough to qualify for a down payment when using an FHA loan. Add to that a portion of any extra money you receive throughout the months for bonuses, birthdays, holidays, rebates, and tax refunds, and your down payment account can grow significantly in just one year.