Michelle Gillespie - Keller Williams Realty



Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 8/2/2020

The more you know about the process of buying a house, the better prepared you'll be for doing it successfully.

How might you define "success" when it comes to purchasing a home?

There are a lot of standards that could be applied to successfully navigating the home buying process, but here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Finding the house of your dreams: While very few people find a home that is absolutely perfect in every way, it is possible to come close to achieving that ideal. Although a certain amount of flexibility goes a long way, knowing what you want and prioritizing important features are among the main prerequisites to getting what you want. As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." Thanks to the variety of websites devoted to home ownership, home decorating, remodeling, and landscaping, it's easy to find pictures online that can help inspire your imagination and clarify exactly what the house of your dreams might look like.
  • Minimizing setbacks and frustrations: The process of house hunting is a journey that often involves bumpy roads, detours, and dead ends. One secret to getting through it successfully is to work with an experienced real estate agent who knows the ropes and can keep you on track. It also helps to approach house hunting with a sense of optimism, resourcefulness, and commitment. Although you probably have a lot of competing priorities in your life, finding a house that you and your family will be happy in for the next few years deserves a top spot on your list!
  • Avoiding unpleasant surprises: Knowing your credit score and understanding the impact it will have on getting loan approval and a favorable interest rate will help prepare you for the financial side of buying a house. The ability to get prequalified for a mortgage and come up with sufficient down payment will also set the stage for a successful home buying experience. On the plus side, a higher down payment can potentially result in a lower interest rate and not having to pay private mortgage insurance (A 20% down payment is necessary to avoid PMI.) Since many loan programs and lenders require at least a 3-5% down payment, that can be a stumbling block for first-time home buyers. To purchase a $200,000 home, for example, you'd need to come up with a cash outlay of between $6,000 to $10,000 -- not an easy feat for everyone!
If coming up with a sufficient down payment is an issue for you, your real estate agent or loan officer can work with you to brainstorm possible solutions and alternative strategies. For some first-time home buyers, the best plan is to postpone your house buying plans for a couple years until you can improve your credit score and set aside several thousand dollars for a down payment.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/29/2017

We’re not taught much about homeownership when we’re young. Like paying bills and taxes, it’s something we’re all expected to pick up along the way. But with something as important and expensive as buying a home, there should be a guide to help first time homeowners determine if they’re ready to enter the real estate market.

Today, we’re going to attempt to provide you with that guide. We’ll offer some of the prerequisites to homeownership to help you determine if you’re ready to buy your first home.

A rite of passage

Buying a house is a significant moment in anyone’s life. It’s often a precursor to starting a career, a family, and settling in a part of the country you will likely call home for a large portion of your life.

It’s also overwhelming.

There’s much to prepare for before buying your first home. You’ll be calculating a lot of expenses, thinking about jobs and schools, and learning new things about home maintenance. Here are some things to think about before buying your first home.

Can I afford it?

The most obvious question first time buyers ask themselves is whether they can afford a home. What many don’t ask, however, is if they can afford all of the unexpected expenses that come with homeownership.

Everyone knows they’ll be making mortgage payments. But to decide if you can really afford a home you’ll have to make a detailed budget. Here are some other expenses to consider:

  • Mortgage closing costs

  • Property tax

  • Home insurance

  • Maintenance and repairs

  • Home improvement

  • All utilities

  • Moving costs

Do I plan on staying in the area?

When you buy a home, you’re not just committing yourself to the house itself, but also to the area you live in. Typically, it only makes sense to buy a home if you’re planning on staying in it for a number of years (usually five or more). Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you can truly commit yourself to your area.

  • Could my career lead me to transferring to another location?

  • Could my spouse’s career lead them to transferring?

  • If children are in the present/future, is the local school district what I’m looking for in terms of education for my child?

  • Will I want to move live to family?

  • Will I have to move soon to care for aging parents?

  • Do I like the weather and culture in the area?

Is my income stable?

Owning a home is much easier when you have a stable income or two stable incomes between you and your significant other. It help you get preapproved for a mortgage and help you rest easy knowing that you can keep up with the bills each month to maintain or build your credit.

Stability doesn’t just mean feeling comfortable that your company won’t get closed down or that you’ll be dismissed from your job. It also means that there are frequent openings in your field of work in the area you choose to live. So, when planning to buy a home, make sure you factor in the potential travel distance to cities or places you could potentially work.

Am I prepared to put in extra work?

If you currently rent an apartment, you’re most likely not responsible for maintenance outside of basic cleaning. Owning a home is a different story. You’ll be taking care of the house inside and out. That means learning basic maintenance and buying the tools for the job.

It also means mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, shoveling snow off of the roof, and other menial tasks that you’ll need to make time for.





Posted by Michelle Gillespie on 10/8/2017

For many families, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. With the exception of homes that have narrow galley kitchens, this living space is often thought of as the nerve center or heart of a home.

The kitchen is typically the focal point of everything from meal preparation and consumption to holiday parties and social gatherings . It's usually the first place families congregate in the morning and often the last place they see each other before going to bed. Choosing a kitchen that's a good match for your lifestyle and decorating tastes can have a major impact on your satisfaction with a new home.

Starting out your home search with a clear idea of what your ideal kitchen should look like will increase the likelihood of bringing that image into reality. Perusing kitchen design stores, websites, and magazines is often a good starting point for developing a clear mental picture of what you want There are dozens of features and characteristics to keep in mind when searching for the ideal house, but the most important ones can be boiled down to three categories:

Space: If you entertain a lot or have a big (or growing) family, a spacious kitchen is probably the best match for your needs. The same thing holds true if you want an eat-in kitchen or if you tend to have more than one person preparing meals at the same time. Without enough space to accommodate your family's habits and lifestyle needs, the kitchen can quickly become cramped quarters. Another vital aspect of kitchen space is cabinetry and storage. For most people, the ideal kitchen would include plenty of cabinets, shelves, drawers, and closets that would provide storage space for dishes, non-perishable food items, kitchen implements, pots and pans, and cookbooks. Last, but not least, having a sufficient amount of counter space and food preparation area can often make the difference between a great kitchen and a marginal one.

Design: When it comes to modern kitchen design, the choices are mind boggling and virtually limitless! Some of the more basic decisions, however, typically revolve around questions like cabinet color, countertop material, flooring, lighting, color choices, backsplash patterns, and the desirability of a kitchen island.

Functionality: Some kitchens are more functional than others, but a lot depends on the size of your family, the amount of time you and your spouse spend cooking and preparing food, and how often you entertain. The configuration of a kitchen should -- and usually does -- enable the "chef" to move around efficiently and quickly between various food preparation areas, including the refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, sink, and counter areas. If you happen to do a lot of cooking, baking, and entertaining, a kitchen with a double oven may be the best option for your needs. A larger-than-standard refrigerator may also be a better fit for your lifestyle.

While there's never a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right kitchen design, forming a clear vision of what you want is always a good starting point for getting it!







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