Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/18/2019

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/4/2019

If you want to purchase a home, it may be beneficial to check out the residences available in a major city. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a city house, and these include:

1. You can live near a variety of attractions and landmarks.

Most cities provide quick, easy access to attractions and landmarks. And if you purchase a city residence, you can explore a wide range of attractions and landmarks any time you choose.

Of course, it generally helps to plan ahead if you intend to buy a city residence. If you enter the real estate market with a homebuying strategy in hand, you can narrow your city house search to residences near your preferred attractions and landmarks.

2. You can upgrade or downgrade from your current residence.

If you find your current residence no longer matches your needs, don't stress. Houses are available in cities around the country so you can upgrade or downgrade from your current home.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start to explore city residences. If you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a city home. Then, you can hone your city house search and speed up the homebuying journey.

3. You can find a residence close to family members and friends in the city.

If your family members and friends frequently rave about life in the city, now may be the perfect time to join them. And if you kick off a city house search, you can find a great home that allows you to live close to loved ones.

The city real estate market often fluctuates, and a housing sector that favors buyers today may shift into sellers' favor tomorrow. Thus, if you want to buy a city home near loved ones, you should allocate time and resources to learn about the local housing sector. Because if you have housing market insights at your disposal, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and prepare accordingly.

As you get ready to launch a search for a home in the city of your choice, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. By employing a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to streamline your city house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, find out where you want to reside in your city of choice and help you budget for the homebuying journey. He or she also will keep you up to date about city residences that meet your homebuying criteria. And if you find a city residence that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Simplify the process of locating and purchasing your ideal city home. Hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive extensive assistance at each stage of the property buying journey.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 7/7/2019

A buyer's market typically is a dream come true for those who want to find a high-quality and affordable house. In fact, there are many things you can do to capitalize on a buyer's market to ensure you can purchase a house that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the most out of a buyer's market.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

Consider where you want to live and what you want to find in your dream home – you'll be glad you did. If you hone your house search, you can avoid wasting time and resources on homes that fail to meet your expectations.

As you evaluate potential home destinations, think about your day-to-day activities. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to search for houses that are in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have kids, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

In addition, it often helps to make a list of home must-haves. Once you know what features you want in your dream home, you can conduct an in-depth search to discover a house that will suit you perfectly.

2. Get a Mortgage

A mortgage is crucial, particularly for individuals who want to take advantage of a buyer's market. Because if you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you can map out your home search based on your budget.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage generally won't take long. Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you everything you need to know about home financing and help you select the right mortgage. Furthermore, these financial institutions employ mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing concerns and queries.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to streamline your search for a home in a buyer's market, you should work with an expert real estate agent. That way, you can receive homebuying tips and recommendations you may struggle to receive elsewhere.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to complete a successful house search in a buyer's market. As such, he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true.

For instance, if you want to purchase a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to buy a house at a low price, a real estate agent can help you discover a terrific residence that matches your pricing expectations.

As you get set to enter a buyer's market, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can simplify your home pursuit in a buyer's market. As a result, you can find a wonderful residence that is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.




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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 6/23/2019

Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, exhausting process. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the mortgage application process so you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the mortgage application process with confidence.

1. Be Thorough

A mortgage application likely requests a lot of information about you, your finances and your employment history. However, it is important to answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability. Because if you fail to do so, you risk delays in getting approved for a mortgage. Or, perhaps even worse, a lender may decline your mortgage application.

In addition, be honest in all of your mortgage application responses. This will ensure that if your mortgage application is approved, you will receive a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

2. Ask Questions

There is no need to leave anything to chance as you complete a mortgage application. Thus, if you're uncertain about how to respond to various mortgage application questions, reach out to a lender for assistance.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially when it comes to filling out a mortgage application. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. Work with these mortgage specialists, and you can get the help you need to finalize your mortgage application.

3. Get Multiple Quotes

It may seem like a good idea to complete a single mortgage application to request home financing from a single lender. Yet doing so may be problematic, particularly for those who prioritize affordability.

Ultimately, meeting with multiple lenders and getting several mortgage quotes is ideal. If you shop around for a mortgage, you may be eligible for a low interest rate that helps you save money when you complete a home purchase.

Once you finish a mortgage application, it may be only a matter of time before you find out if you have received approval. Then, if you receive a "Yes" from a lender, you can accelerate the homebuying journey.

Of course, for those who plan to buy a home soon, it may be beneficial to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area, as well as help you complete a home search in no time at all.

A real estate agent typically learns about a homebuyer's goals and crafts a strategy to help this buyer accomplish his or her aspirations. Furthermore, a real estate agent provides recommendations and tips to help a homebuyer make informed decisions throughout the property buying journey. And if a homebuyer ever has concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.

Ready to complete a mortgage application? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application, obtain home financing and make your homeownership dream come true.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
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Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 5/19/2019

If you want to quickly find and acquire your dream house, it generally is beneficial to narrow your property search. Because if you focus on available homes in a select group of cities and towns, you may be able to speed up the process of buying your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you locate your dream home.

1. Consider Your Short and Long-Term Aspirations

Think about where you want to be in the next few years. Then, you can map out your home search based on your short- and long-term goals.

For instance, if you currently work in a big city and intend to stay with your company for many years, you may want to search for a residence in the city itself. Or, if you plan to start a family soon, you may want to focus on houses near parks and schools.

You should try to be flexible as you begin a home search too. Remember, even the best-laid plans won't necessarily come to fruition. But if you maintain flexibility, you could find a home that will suit you perfectly both now and in the future.

2. Create a Budget

The homes in large cities tend to be more expensive than those in small towns. Fortunately, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can determine where you can afford to reside and plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about myriad home financing options. Next, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with home financing in hand.

If you have concerns as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ expert mortgage specialists, and these professionals are happy to provide you with the insights you need to make an informed home financing decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are uncertain about how to approach a home search, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you identify your dream residence.

A real estate agent is dedicated to client satisfaction, and he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true. First, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search. This housing market professional then will keep you up to date about available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Finally, when you are ready to close on a house, a real estate agent will help you complete your home purchase.

Dedicate time and resources to find your dream house – you'll be glad you did. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can accelerate the process of locating your ideal residence and acquire a house that can serve you well for years to come.




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