Monthly Archives: March 2015

Pricing Your Home for Sale

Professional appraisers sum it up in three words — buyers make value. Ultimately, the value of your home is what a reasonable buyer is willing to pay within a reasonable time. Setting an asking price for your home requires that you anticipate what most buyers would be willing to pay. This requires a close look at comparable home sales in your area, as well as making an assessment of the state of the real estate market itself. Pricing correctly is fundamental to the successful outcome in the sale of your home.

Market Analysis

Homes listed for sale and recent closed sales in your area will usually provide relevant comparable data for pricing your home. Closed sales show “market confirmed” prices, while listing prices indicate the current trend in pricing. Later, when your home is appraised for the buyer’s loan, the appraiser will only consider recent closed sales. Asking prices will not be considered. A sales price that is solidly based on recent sales of similar homes will not have a problem when the price is later reviewed by an appraiser. If your home is superior or inferior to most homes in the neighborhood, or if there are few or no nearby sales, then anticipating the responses of potential buyers will be more difficult. In this case, a trial and error strategy may be necessary. This is a sensitive area and requires a realistic assessment of your home and its market. For example, one very nice home was continually rejected because it had the master bedroom upstairs, and it was located in an area where most buyers were over the age of 45, with older children.

Real Estate Market

An important aspect of pricing is an assessment of the state of the real estate market. The market may favor buyers or sellers, or be in balance. An indicator of the quality of the market is the number of months of standing inventory in your market and price range. Consider your market area to be all neighborhoods that offer competing choices for your potential buyer. Here is how to do that:

Count the number of sales in your market area and price range for the past 12 months.

Divide the number of sales by 12, to get the number of sales per month (sales rate).

Count the number of homes on the market now.

Divide the number of homes on the market by the number of sales per month (sales rate).

This will show you the number of months it will take to clear the current inventory.

Seller’s Market

Less than 6 months of standing inventory is considered a seller’s market. In a seller’s market the number of buyers is large in proportion to the number of homes for sale. The demand for homes is greater than the supply. Buyers must compete with each other for the available inventory. There may be multiple offers received shortly after a property goes on the market. Buyers will submit the highest possible price and terms
that the market will support. Prices will trend upward. In a climbing market, pricing slightly above recent sales is appropriate.

Buyer’s Market

More than 8 months of inventory is considered a buyer’s market. In a buyer’s market the number of buyers is small in proportion to the number of homes for sale. This situation can be created by high interest rates, employment decline and excessive building. A low number of buyers equals a lower price. Sellers must compete with each other for available buyers. Prices trend downward. In a falling market, prices should be set at the lower end of the range, because time works against you. In six months prices may be lower. This may be difficult to do, especially if your home was purchased at a higher price.

Price Per Square Foot

“Dollars per square foot” is often used as tool for comparing homes of varying sizes to determine a list price. When price per square foot is used, it is important to keep in mind that you must make a sliding scale adjustment from larger to smaller homes. In other words, the larger the house, the lower the price per square foot for comparable homes. This is because the core square footage of a home has a higher value than the peripheral area. For example, the price per sq. ft. on a 1,000 sf home will be much higher than a 5,000 sf home, with other things being equal. We usually graph the neighborhood prices per sq. ft. to get a visual picture of the market in the neighborhood, as well to see how much the price per square foot declines from smaller to mid-sized to larger homes.

Should you price “high,” and hope for an offer?

Houses should not be priced over the market. This is not the best way to position your home for several reasons:

Your home will be shown to the wrong group of buyers, from whom you need an aggressive negotiator – someone who will
make a low offer.

You will inadvertently help to sell the competition. Your high price will convince buyers that another home is a good value.

Your “days on the market” is evident to buyers, and is a subtle but important factor in their decisions. Your best leverage occurs during the early marketing period.

How will you know if the price is correct?

The best affirmation of correct pricing is second looks from buyers. This indicates that your home appeals to buyers in your price range. There may be a few “nibbles” before a buyer comes forward who is ready to act. It helps to get feedback from Realtors and potential buyers. Keep in mind that they will often be reluctant to say “negative” things. The summary of feedback is more important than what they say. Are you getting “nice” rejections or are you getting second looks?

How will you know if the price is incorrect?

You may have steady showings, but lukewarm responses. This indicates that are buyers, but they have other choices with more competitive prices. Or, you may have very few showings. In this case, the buyer pool for your area, or for the style or condition of your home is small. This will require a strategy of more competitive pricing and a longer marketing time. Remember that a small buyer pool, for any reason, is a “buyer’s market” and requires more aggressive pricing.

How long should you market a home at a given price?

There is no uniform time frame for marketing at set price. I think about 8-10 showings is a reasonable number for feedback regarding the price. This usually corresponds to about 2 – 6 weeks for an average home in a balanced market. About 30 days marketing time for a given price could be good a rule of thumb. However, this may be too short for your home if you have an unusual or very high end home for which there is a small market. Or, 30 days may be too long for your home if you need to move fast.

What happens if your home does not sell in a reasonable time?

If your home has been on the market for months with no offers, you have been given a clear message that the price is set too high. This is particularly true if showings have slowed down and there are few prospects coming to see it. What you do at this point depends on whether you really need to sell. If you’re not really motivated to move soon, you can always wait for the market to catch up to the price you want. It would be best to take your home off the market and wait for better conditions. Buyers become suspicious of a house that’s been for sale for a long time. If you need to sell, consider a schedule for dropping your price until it reaches a level that attracts buyers. There’s no reason to say, “We simply can’t sell our house.” Houses will sell if the price is right.

How can you get top dollar for your home?

Although buyers will not pay more than market value, they will pay a premium for homes that are in excellent condition and well presented. With good condition and presentation, you can reach the high end of the price range achievable for your house. We will work with you to “create value” before your house goes on the market. When it goes on the market, we will make sure that your home is show beautifully to a wide audience.

Today’s Real Estate Market – Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Since the economic downturn of 2008, the real estate market has been challenging for REALTORS and buyers and sellers. For those who have cash for a home purchase, or can obtain a mortgage, there has never been a better time to buy property. Real Estate is, and will remain for some time, a buyer’s market.

Sellers are still adjusting to this shift, and need to be realistic about what this means when they are preparing their home for the market.

I am going outline both the home buyer and home seller perspectives in this article so that both sides can gain a clearer view of the tenor of the present market.

Home Buyers: What are They Looking for in the Current Real Estate Market?
Since buyers are now a select group with ample choices, they can afford to be picky about the properties they purchase. Today, I find that many of my buyers want to walk into instant equity in the home they purchase. There are opportunities to buy short sales or foreclosed properties where the purchaser can walk into equity — providing the property is in good shape. Most of the time these types of home purchases will need updates and/or repairs.

Home buyers wishing to obtain ‘instant equity’ in a home purchase need to prepare themselves in two ways. First, a down payment of 5-20% will be required depending upon the type of loan they qualify for. Home buyers also need to make certain their credit scores are high enough to obtain lending approval.

Those buyers who prefer to purchase properties that are not bank owned will want to make that purchase based on a current appraised value. A savvy home buyer will look for a property in pristine condition. This type of buyer will most likely expect to move in and not have to perform any work on the property. These types of expectations are especially true for real estate purchases where individuals are downsizing from larger to smaller homes.

Even though some states may not require it, buyers will insist upon home inspections before purchase. I advise my home buyers not to get too caught up on the cosmetics of a property (i.e. rugs need to be replaced, holes in the dry wall, wood rot on the railing). These minor issues with a home are easily fixable. I encourage home buyers to focus on structural integrity of the home instead. This means the plumbing, electric, heating, air conditioning and roofs must be in good condition. These aspects of a home affect the integrity of the property, and require time consuming and costly repairs. Remember that some FHA and VA loans will not approve mortgages unless the home is structurally sound.

Nowadays, home buyers cannot count on owning a home and selling it a year or two later. A home purchaser should plan on owning the property for three years or longer, even if it has to be turned into a rental property. Today’s real estate purchaser has many more demands than a buyer did three or more years ago.

Home Sellers: It’s Time for a Reality Check
On properties for sale where I am the listing agent, I advise my sellers to return to the traditional strengths of a property. If a seller truly wants to sell, he or she must evaluate current pricing, location and condition.

Pricing a Property for Sale
There is no doubt about it: price is the defining criteria of real estate transactions today. Most cities and counties have raised the assessments over the last five years. Presently, these assessments are often equivalent to current appraised values. This is not good news for many property owners, who have lost equity in their home.

In many real estate markets, short sales and foreclosures are sold near the property listed, and appraisers have to use these comparable sales in approximating the value of a home. Sellers should NOT be surprised if an agent asks them to price their property below current assessed values. Fulfilling this pricing request will be necessary if there are multiple foreclosures or distressed properties in their neighborhood or homeowners have sold their properties at lower than market value out of necessity.

When I ask a home seller to lower his or her price, he or she is often inclined to take this personally. It is just like I told the seller his or her children are ugly and the grandchildren will be ugly, too. Home sellers: it is time for a reality check. Do not take the suggestion to lower a selling price personally! I know when a house is priced correctly because there is a peak in interest measured by an increase in inquiries and showings. If a home has been on the market for three months or more, and it has not been shown, it is probably overpriced.

Selling a Home in a Convenient or Popular Location
Do not over improve a home for the neighborhood. Home sellers must remember this cardinal rule of real estate: your home does not need to be the biggest and best, but it is certainly beneficial to be around the biggest and best. If a property is close to a metropolitan area, or in an upscale subdivision, more buyers will want to purchase it. Premiere locations should be reflected in price. If a house is 25 minutes outside of town and it takes a half hour to reach a store, the amount of time a home spends on the market will most likely be longer.

Sellers: Take a Critical Look at a Home’s Condition, and Make Improvements
The first impression a buyer receives of a home is a lasting one. Landscaping does not cost a great deal and it is well worth the investment if you are selling a property. Curb appeal encourages buyers to get out of the car and into the house. Plant flowers in the garden. Put a wreath on the door. If a home has old orange shag carpet and green laminate countertops, this will be reflected in the pricing of the home. Put some money into improving the property. If a seller is really serious about closing a home sale, then he or she will want it to stand out above the rest.

Sellers have come to expect reimbursement for upgrades and improvements. In this market, things are different. Remember, the buyer can afford to be picky. Complete upgrades on the property in order to make it more enticing, and to help the home sell quicker. But — do not expect these upgrades to increase the price of a property. The more dated a home is the longer it will sit on this real estate market. A buyer can just as easily purchase a bank owned property that needs improvement, for a lower price. This is a price driven market. Make your property easier to sell by completing improvements before it goes on the market.

Where do Home Buyers and Sellers Meet?
There are excellent houses on the real estate market and some good buys right now. If both parties are willing to negotiate and be reasonable, they will inevitably reach the closing table. A vacant home with mortgage payments, taxes and utility expenses drains monthly incomes and financial reserves. Owners who have had a home on the market for some time need to seriously consider dropping the price $5,000-10,000 to complete a sale, rather then bleeding money every month.

What to Expect When Closing a Sale in Today’s Real Estate Market…
Since down payments are now required, home buyers will usually ask for closing costs to be covered by the seller. If the seller is not in a position to cover all closing costs, I recommend they at least offer some sort of assistance. If the house is sold as is, and the home owner does not plan on doing any improvements – be prepared to negotiate price.

The current real estate market requires more work on the part of the seller, and buyers have become choosier in the properties they do purchase. Remember these suggestions when you put your home up for sale, and your home will be more inclined to sell within the first six months.

From Your Rooftop to Ground Zero: Home Inspections

Home inspections are an important part of the real estate process
whether you are buying your first home, retiring to a second home or
relocating to a new area. Real estate agents must work with a home
inspection company that is both reputable and trustworthy. Attention to
detail and knowing how to report the facts are essential to a thorough
home inspection. In this article I have asked Kevin Salva of US
Inspects? in Virginia to explain some of the basics of home inspection
to help answer the questions many homebuyers and sellers are asking.

No Stone Left Unturned

Home inspection covers many areas of the house. According to Kevin,
a home inspector must “objectively evaluate every angle of the home”.
The first consideration for any home inspection is the age of the house.
New homes fall under stricter laws and regulations. Therefore, the
inspector must pay attention to the safety features and be certain the
home is in compliance with the current safety requirements. Older
homes are only expected to meet the safety standards and regulations
current in the year they were built. However, older homes must be
carefully assessed for potential problems. “The structure of the house
must be analyzed along with the utilities, roof and heating and cooling
systems,” states Kevin. “I do a number of different inspections,”
continues Kevin, “including termite, Radon, septic systems, private
wells, and more.” As a potential homebuyer it is important to know what
the basic home inspection includes, and when you may need specific
services such as termite, lead paint or asbestos inspection. Your real
estate agent can advise you on what types of inspection are necessary.

Knowledge and Planning Lead to a Successful Purchase

Kevin suggests all homebuyers “become familiar with the average life
span of particular household appliances and systems”. For example, a
typical heat pump works for approximately fifteen years. If you buy a
home and the heat pump is fourteen years old this repair expense may
come in the near future. As a homebuyer, knowledge and planning are
the keys to avoiding unexpected costs and a lack of funds to complete
important repairs. Kevin also believes that an experienced and
reputable home inspector will offer the homebuyer a walk through of the
property. This allows the home inspector the opportunity to “begin a
dialogue about home maintenance” says Kevin. This dialogue will be a
valuable asset to the homeowner in the future. Homebuyers should
also talk to their real estate agent about home warranty programs. Many
systems or appliances that are potential future repair costs can be
covered by a home warranty that is renewable each year. A home
warranty is a great strategy for any homebuyer, but especially for those
purchasing older homes.

The Language of Home Inspection

Home inspection reports are not difficult to understand. “The body of the
report talks about the systems of the home,” states Kevin. The home
inspector should know the difference between “a defect” and “a related
item” and be able to identify these items clearly. The home inspector
must speak the language of real estate so the agent can fully
comprehend the report. This allows the real estate agent to advise the
buyer in the best way possible. A “defect” is an issue about the home
that must be addressed immediately. The buyer should expect the real
estate agent to budget the repair of the “defect” into the closing contract.
A “related item” is simply a typical maintenance item that the homebuyer
may need to be prepared to cover now or in the future.

The relationship between a real estate agent and a home inspector is
built on trust. The real estate agent knows the market and typically what
items the sellers and the buyers are financially responsible for at
closing. The agent understands trends in specific regions when looking
at the home inspection report. They analyze the buyer’s concerns and
close the best deal they can for their clients. A home inspector must
know the real estate business and pay attention to the details. Kevin
says, “…A home inspector must provide impeccable service and do
everything necessary to educate the real estate agent and the buyer
about the home.” To learn more about real estate topics such as
renovations, homeowner’s insurance or mortgages please visit my
website at http://www.voncannonrealestate.com. For more information on US
Inspect? contact Kevin Salva at 888-US-INSPECT or visit
http://www.usinspect.com.

Budgeting Your Log Home: Where Do You Start?

The Log home industry has matured these last many years, but there is still a lot of confusion about how much a log home costs. Naturally, everyone wants to know the cost of the log package; however, the budgeting only starts here. If you are shopping for a milled log package (as opposed to hand-crafted, which is a totally different category), the difference between one manufacturer’s price and another is minimal when compared to the total cost of the structure. Here are some reasons why:

Other materials. The logs themselves only form a portion of the material costs of the home. Once the log walls are erected, you still have to worry about a floor, a roof, the windows, the doors, the plumbing, the kitchen… the list goes on and on. Some manufacturers quote a “weathered-in shell” which includes the logs, the windows and roof – all the elements that enclose the building (protecting the house against the weather). Other manufacturers only quote the log package, and leave it to the contractor to provide the other materials locally. When pricing a log package, make sure you are comparing “apples to apples”.

From our experience, the price of the Logs only constituted approximately 1/5 of the total price of the finished structure. As for the rest… it’s a high-end custom home, and like any custom home, your cost is limited by your imagination – and your budget. You decide whether to use hardwood floors or carpet, marble counters or formica, a metal roof or asphalt shingles. No log home company will offer these products to you. Unlike a Development contractor who offers you a limited selection, you choose everything yourself, from doorknobs to toilets. Once you start factoring in all these items, you will discover that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between a log home any another home – except for the exterior walls.

Local price differences. We built our log home in New Jersey, which tends to be a lot more expensive overall than much of the rest of the country. The same house in Tennessee would cost considerably less in lumber and other materials. Also consider that labor costs vary wildly as well. A very big part of your budget will cover the labor, because this home will be built entirely by hand. Your contractor may not have to peel or notch the logs, but he will still be placing the logs one at at time, making sure the walls are plumb, drilling holes for the wiring, cutting settling gaps above the windows and doors, possibly fitting the roof frame one board at a time. Your builder is the most critical part of the project, and it’s not necessarily a good idea to go with the cheapest quote. Do you really want him to cut corners to stay within a low quote?

Design features of the house. The most dramatic log homes have roof lines that point in all directions, dormers that grace the front, vaulted ceilings in the great rooms. But remember that every new angle you add to the roof adds exponentially to the cost of the project. If you need to keep costs down, think about a simple roof line with not too many angles.

Also, the old adage remains especially true with log homes: it’s much cheaper to go up than go out. If you want a rambling one-story ranch house, you will have a bigger foundation cost, a bigger roof to consider, and lots more labor. If you build more stories and a smaller foundation, even though you will have to invest in a staircase the savings are considerable.

So what is the bottom line? A basic budgeting cost in the Northeast US would be $140-$150 per square foot for a milled log home; this is about the equivalent of a high-end custom stick-frame house. This does not include the land, the well, the septic, the driveway, etc. It does include the basement, the kitchen, the plumbing, etc. This is the turnkey budget for the house only. You can certainly do less if you give up a lot of amenities, but I wouldn’t advise a starting budget of any less than $130 per sq. ft. You may find yourself running out of money way too soon, and that would be a terrible shame.

The Modular Home Advantage

The modular homes available today are so much more advanced than the manufactured homes of the past. Today, these homes are comparable to the traditional stick built homes that most of us live in. Builders use high-quality materials and state-of-the-art building technologies to create customizable, cost-efficient homes.

One characteristic that sets modular homes apart from traditional homes is that they are built in an off-site controlled environment. Building off-site rather than at the home site offers some unique benefits to consumers. It will decrease the timeframe for completion of your home because materials and finished modules are protected from weather-related damage and vandalism. Valuable workdays will not be lost due to rain or cold temperatures. Since all materials are secure from the public, there will be no need for costly reworks due to vandalism or theft from the work site. A quicker timeframe for building means a faster move-in date for you and your family.

Building homes in a factory setting allows for more efficient and consistent manufacturing processes. Each worker in the factory is trained to perform a specific task and as a result, has expertise in that area of building. Traditional homebuilders tend to ask their workers to complete a variety of jobs on the worksite rather than specializing in one area.

Quality control standards for modular are extremely high. Internal and third party inspectors are on hand to ensure that your custom home will meet and exceed all federal, state, and local codes. Constant inspection and supervision means that your home will receive the highest level of workmanship available.

Another benefit of modular homes is the flexibility available when designing a home. There are limitless customizations that consumers can choose to make their home fit all of their needs. A variety of floor plans, exterior treatments, cabinetry, appliances, accessories, flooring, and much more are available to homebuyers. Consumers can even choose to place their home on a basement. There are styles available for all budgets and lifestyles.

Modular home manufacturers have better control of material costs than on-site, traditional homebuilders. Because they can buy supplies in bulk and store them for longer periods of time, modular homebuilders are able to provide materials at a lower cost to consumers.

One of the reasons that many consumers choose to purchase a modular home is because they are environmentally friendly. Some producers are taking steps to build green, energy efficient homes. Many modular homes meet ENERGY STAR requirements for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The construction process allows builders to fill in the gaps around pipes, widows, doors, and electrical outlets with insulation to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Because these homes must withstand being shipped and lifted onto a foundation, they must be built to last. Walls, floors, and ceilings are double bonded to ensure that the home will be sturdy enough to withstand harsh traveling conditions.

The modular homes on the market today are well-built, attractive homes that are reasonably priced. The benefits that modular homes offer over traditional homes have increased their popularity in recent years. Visit a seller today to discover the modular home advantage.

How to Build Your Dream Home

Building your dream home is a process that takes some individuals a lifetime. Hardly anyone knows early in life what exactly constitutes “dream home” in her eyes. Pinning down the details that you want may take years of “starter” homes and building mistakes to learn what truly works for you. It is helpful to keep a list of likes and dislikes about each house that you live in. Consider everything from major aspects like size and layout to minor details like cabinet space and tile coloring. It is hard to remember everything that you have learned from previous living situations when faced with the stress and endless choices involved with building a new home. Keeping detailed records is a good way to stay level headed under pressure.

One good way to get good ideas for your dream home is to do active research. Any time you see a house for sale, stop and take a walk through to add to your likes and dislikes list. Steal ideas- it is allowed! Model homes are another great way to check out floor plans and housing designers. Home shows are one of the best ways to get ideas. These homes are fully decorated, and decorating the house well is almost more important in creating a dream home that the actual layout. Often these homes provide great inspiration for wall coloring, wood color, counter tops and furniture ideas. Be open minded, and home shows may provide a whole new perspective.

The next step is choosing a location for the building of the dream home to take place. The whole atmosphere of the house depends on whether you are located in the woods or a subdivision, on lots of acres or in a city. Work with your atmosphere instead of against it. Once your have ideas for what type of home you want, consider what type of backdrop makes the most sense for your tastes.

Choosing a builder is one of the hardest steps in choosing a dream home. Get recommendations from friends whose homes you admire and visit several projects completed by the builder.

Before any contracting takes place, you and the builder should have extensive conversation to be sure your ideas and his skills will coincide. Take your time with decisions. Make initial choices, but allow two weeks to think about your choice before it is finalized. It is important to visit your work-in-progress dream home frequently in order to be sure you and the builder are on the same page. Sometimes mistakes get made in the funneling of messages from builder to crew heads to crewmembers. Staying in close contact with the builder and crews helps ensure that your home is erected according to plan.

What Are Modular Homes?

Have you been interested in looking at modular homes but want to learn more first before diving headfirst into the investment? Well, you’ve reached the right place. In this article, you will have a chance to learn what a modular home is, as well as the pros and cons of buying one and where you can go to find more information if needed.

What are Modular Homes?

A modular home is a home that is built in sections at a factory or plant and then is later delivered to a construction site where it is pieced together on location. This process of construction is quite the opposite of general on-site construction, which starts and finishes at the location. Modular homes are prepared in an assembly line fashion and are then transported when completed. This process is said to save customers time and money – a major selling point.

These unique homes have the look and feel of a traditionally-built house and meet all building and local zoning codes. They can be built to be hurricane-resistant or hold a sturdier frame for an earthquake prone area. No matter what specifications the owner and local zoning area have, most modular home manufacturers have learned to make adjustments that will meet the needs of those specifications.

Pros and Cons

One of the pros of buying modular homes is the process of prefabrication and indoor construction. The pre-fabrication process at an indoor location is beneficial for two reasons. One, the mess of fabrication that would have been accumulated on site is now handled before the home ever reaches your property, which results in less time spent cleaning up after construction. And two, by working at an indoor facility to get it partially constructed, your home is not susceptible to all of the outdoor elements including rain and animals that can adversely affect construction time and cause weather wear and tear to your home before you move in.

Another pro is the strength of modular homes. Many manufacturers claim that these homes are built to be stronger than traditionally-constructed homes – initially, at least. This is because many of the homes are built with screws instead of nails and add glue to the joints to enable an easier transport to the site. While they are said to be initially stronger, it has not yet been determined that they are stronger over a long period of time.

The major reason, however, that people say they love these homes is because of their lower price tag. Builders claim that because they are large manufacturers they can bargain for discounts on materials with the suppliers, which can cut the cost of the home considerably.

And now for the cons:

The first con of the modular home is that they are often compared to a cardboard box. In other words, you are said to be living in a boring carbon copy of tons of other homes built in the same facility if you buy one of these homes. However, many manufacturers have stepped up their game and are now offering custom options that homes look more original.

The second con is the financing issues that the home can present. Because these homes are still new on the home lending scene, many lenders are apprehensive about financing them; and if they do decide to finance one it will be for much less money than the traditional, on-site home. This can cause a problem for both the manufacturer and buyer as they don’t have as many resources available to create a nice home.

And the third con is the challenge of site access. One issue that on-site constructors do not have to contend with is the idea of driving a large home through narrow streets; but a modular home builder does. It may be that the customer wants to place their home in a remote area, and when the builder drives to the proper they realize that a low overpass, gated community or narrow road may cause a problem when trying to deliver the home.

Should I Buy a Modular Home?

Of course, I cannot determine your specific situation to say “yay or nay” to you buying a modular home. It is up to you to determine the obvious pros and cons and then look at your personal and family situation to see what works best for you. But if you are interested in more information on the ins and outs of buying modular homes, then you might want to visit the following websites for more information.

Homebuying.about.com

This website accumulates several different websites that tell you the advantages and disadvantages of buying modular homes as well as where you can find manufacturers and builders in your area to get started. Not a bad resource.

Modularhomesguide.com

Modularhomesguide.com is a website that tries to give you access to “the best modular homes, dealers, home builders, communities and new home builder web sites” in the country. They claim to be the largest database on the Internet for these homes, and with their high ranking in the search engines, they just might be.

Through their site you can find information about homes in your area by selecting your state, price range, manufacturer, floor plans or builder, and home type. Once you’ve conducted the search, you will be taken to a list of homes that fall into the criteria you pre-selected. In addition to searching for homes on the site, you can find informative articles that can help you make your decision.

Modular homes have become a nice alternative to people who are interested in paying less for a nice home. They’ve found that the benefits can be plentiful when they consider the cost reduction, lack of extended construction time, reduction in mess at the site, and sturdier home to live in. However, these modular homes do run the risk of having a “cooker cutter” beige box look, so it is important that you do your research before committing to buying one. The more you learn about the pros and cons of these homes, the more likely you are to make an informed decision that you won’t later regret.

Should First Time Home Buyers Have an Appraisal, Survey, and Home Inspection?

There are lots of reasons for first time home buyers to skip the appraisal, survey and home inspection, and all those reasons are in the form of dollars. But keep in mind that all three of these services can save you time, money and heartache in the long run. To fully understand, take a look at what the home buyer will get for the money and how it can help you get great loan options – and a great home.

If you are looking for a first time home buyer home loan, you may be having some trouble with the entire process. You’ve probably seen advertisements for low loan rates, but when you become the home buyer, you may have been surprised by the rates and terms of loans you’ve been offered. Having an appraisal can help assure the lender that the property is worth the amount you’re borrowing and that their loan is secure.

Many home buyers confuse the appraisal, survey and home inspection. An appraisal is an expert’s opinion on the fair market value of a piece of property, home, building or combination of these. It’s defined as the amount a “willing buyer would pay a willing seller” for that property on the open market. While the property may be worth much more than that to you as a home buyer for some specific reason (it’s next door to your mother, has wheelchair accessibility or is simply your dream home), that’s not what determines an appraised value.

If you’re looking at a particular first time home buyer program, a home inspection may be required. The appraiser will make an inspection of the home and property, but remember that appraisers are generally not trained in home inspection. The appraiser will typically note that he assumes all mechanical systems (electric, heat/air, and plumbing) to be in good working condition.

A home inspector will crawl under the house, examine electrical wiring and look for problems and potential problems. After the home inspection, the home buyer will know if there are things that need to be fixed and you could even have some ideas of what repairs will be needed in the near future. Many first time home buyer grants also require both home inspections and appraisals. Again, the purpose is to protect both the home buyer and the lender.

The survey is done by a licensed professional and his goal is to assure the home buyer and lender that the property exists as it’s described. A survey may not be required in an urban area because boundaries are typically very small and are usually well established. But in rural areas and especially with large tracts of land, surveys are very important. Most people can’t tell the difference between 10 acres and 12 just by looking, but a surveyor can determine that the property lines are where the descriptions indicate, and that the amount of property actually available is consistent with what the home buyer is paying for. This can also indicate when there are encroachments – other buildings, fences, etc. that are on the property but shouldn’t be there.

First time home buyers may be thinking that the requirements like appraisals, surveys and inspections make the process less than appealing, and you may very well be right. But keep in mind that this is a big financial investment – the biggest most people will ever make. Even if you have a perfect credit rating, a lender is taking a chance on a first time home buyer. Having appraisals, surveys and inspections cane make you as the home buyer and the lender more confident that you’re making a good decision.