Jill Finkelstein - Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Town and Country Real Estate



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 1/14/2018

Entering the housing market may be difficult for a buyer. In many instances, buyers worry about paying too much for a house. On the other hand, the temptation to overspend on a house sometimes can be overwhelming for a homebuyer who is concerned about losing his or her dream residence to a rival buyer.

Fortunately, we're here to help you determine exactly what you can afford to pay for a house, thereby reducing the risk of spending too much on a residence.

Let's take a look at three tips to ensure a buyer can purchase a great house at the right price.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can start searching for houses that fall within your financial limits.

To learn about your mortgage options, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can teach you about myriad mortgage options.

Also, don't hesitate to ask questions as you search for a mortgage. If you understand all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can make an informed mortgage decision. Then, you'll be able to start pursuing houses with a budget in hand.

2. Assess the Housing Market

The real estate market frequently fluctuates. As such, you should look closely at housing market data to find out whether you're preparing to search for a house in a buyer's or seller's market.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area. This will allow you to see how much sellers received for their homes, as well as how long these houses were available before they sold. That way, you can use this housing market data to narrow your price range and establish realistic expectations for your home search.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market expert. Therefore, a real estate agent can make it simple for you to pay the right price for your ideal house.

Typically, a real estate agent will want to meet with you before you start your home search. He or she then can learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you craft a homebuying budget. As a result, a real estate agent will allow you to refine your home search, ensuring you can check out high-quality houses at budget-friendly prices.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent delivers throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that fall within your price range. And if you'd like to submit an offer on a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive proposal as well.

Pay the right price for your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of discovering the right home, at the right price.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 1/7/2018

If you want to buy or sell a home, hiring a real estate agent is a must. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble getting the best results.

A real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs of the housing market and ensure you can make informed buying or selling decisions. In addition, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you throughout each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey.

Although many real estate agents are available nationwide, it is important to remember that not all of these housing market professionals possess the same communication skills. And if you hire a real estate agent who is an ineffective communicator, you may miss out on opportunities to buy your dream home or get the best price for your current residence.

Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent is a great communicator, including:

1. A real estate agent keeps in touch with clients via emails, phone calls and texts.

A real estate agent who understands the importance of effective communication will be able to stay in contact with you via emails, phone calls and texts. This housing market professional is happy to work with you in any way possible, and as such, is ready to lend a helping hand time and time again.

Furthermore, a great communicator understands the importance of timely, accurate messages. This means a real estate agent who strives to maintain open lines of communication should have no trouble keeping you informed throughout the homebuying or home selling cycle.

2. A real estate agent listens to your concerns and questions.

Let's face it – buying or selling a home can be stressful, particularly if you're operating in a competitive housing market. Lucky for you, a real estate agent who acts as a great communicator can listen to your concerns and questions and help you alleviate stress.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to assist a homebuyer or home seller. He or she also recognizes the importance of active listening and respond to your concerns and queries instantly. That way, this housing market professional can do whatever it takes to help you remain calm, cool and collected as you buy or sell a home.

3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest.

Although the homebuying or home selling journey should be simple, problems sometimes may arise. However, a real estate agent who serves as a great communicator will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you overcome any challenges.

A real estate agent is proud to assist his or her clients. At the same time, this housing market professional is unafraid to deliver bad news. Therefore, a real estate agent who is an effective communicator can share good and bad news with clients, provide consistent support and help clients mitigate homebuying or home selling problems as quickly as possible.

Employ a real estate agent who is a great communicator, and you can work with a housing market professional who can help you overcome the challenges associated with buying or selling a home.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 12/31/2017

Have you heard the term “earnest money” but really aren’t sure what it means? Once you have found the perfect home and are all set to make an offer, there’s one more step that you need to take. That’s to make a deposit on the home you want to buy. This is known as an “earnest money deposit.”  


The Purpose Of The Deposit


The deposit shows the seller that you’re serious about buying the home. It’s a measure that allows the seller to have some faith in you as a buyer that you’re truly moving forward with your decision; you’re ready as a buyer to make the financial commitment. This deposit allows the deal to begin on a solid basis without much question. 


Is The Deposit Required Legally To Buy A Home?


From a seller’s perspective, a deposit keeps a buyer from changing their mind. If there is a significant amount of money involved, the seller sees the deposit as a way to keep the buyer locked in. This makes it easier for sellers to accept an offer. 


How Much Is Expected For An Earnest Money Deposit?


These deposits don’t quite have a standard amount. The general rule is that they range from 1% of the home price up to 5%. The more expensive of a home that’s being purchased, the larger the earnest money deposit should be. In some cases, the seller may even ask for a certain amount of a deposit to ensure that buyers are serious. How much money you pay at once is often negotiable. You may be able to pay part of the money at one time and the other part at a later date.


New Construction Can Require Large Deposits


New construction homes can require large earnest money deposits- up to half of the purchase price of the home. This is because the construction costs need to be paid upfront and the bank wants proof that the units being constructed with loan money are being sold to buyers who can pay for the home. 


New construction homes are often customized as well. It would be detrimental to a developer to make special changes to a home only for a buyer to walk away. 


Getting The Deposit Refunded


As with everything in real estate, you’ll have a contract. If you don’t follow the terms of the contract, you risk losing your earnest money deposit. Two main reasons for buyers to walk away are a flopped home inspection or financing that falls through. Read your contracts carefully. Sellers sometimes state that deposits are nonrefundable after a certain number of days. 


You need to be sure that you are covered as a buyer in the purchase and sales agreement. If you back out of a home purchase without good reason like a contingency included in the agreement) you could be out of luck when it comes to getting your deposit back.    






Tags: Buying a home   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 12/24/2017

Ready to upgrade from a condo to a house? You'll first need to add your condo to the real estate market to ensure that you can sell this property and buy a new residence. However, selling a condo sometimes can be difficult, particularly for those who are selling a property for the first time.

Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of selling your condo. Here are three tips that you can use to list your condo on the real estate market and maximize your property's value.

1. Set a Competitive Price for Your Condo

Spend some time learning about the prices of condos in your area. By doing so, you'll be able to establish a fair price for your condo and improve your chances of generating substantial interest in it.

Condo sellers should look at the prices of similar properties in their respective neighborhoods. This will enable condo sellers to understand how much other condo sellers are asking for their properties, along with how much various condos have sold for over the past few months.

Also, don't forget to include your assets in your condo listing. If you have extra storage space or a covered parking spot, you may be able these amenities into your condo listing to help your property stand out from others.

2. Understand Your Condo Association's Rules

A homeowners association (HOA) sets guidelines and rules for condo owners to follow in a community. And if you fail to comply with these regulations, you may face fines or other penalties from the HOA.

When it comes to selling your condo, it always is better to err on the side of caution. Thus, you should reach out to your HOA in advance to inform the association of your decision to sell your condo. This will allow you to find out whether a homebuyer will need to be approved by the HOA before he or she can purchase your condo.

3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Professional

Collaborate with a real estate agent who understands what it takes to sell a condo. With this real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your condo in a short amount of time.

An experienced real estate agent will possess many years of condo selling experience and can share his or her insights with you. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about selling your condo, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to these queries immediately.

In addition, an experienced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to sell your property. He or she will host condo showings and keep you up to date about any potential offers. This real estate professional also will provide expert guidance to help you optimize the value of your property.

Hire an experienced real estate agent to sell your condo, and ultimately, you can streamline the condo selling process.




Tags: Condo   condo fees  
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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 12/17/2017

Ready to purchase your dream home? Before you finalize a home purchase, it may be worthwhile to schedule a home appraisal.

With a home appraisal, a property expert will examine a residence both inside and out. The home appraiser then will offer a property valuation.

In some instances, a home offer may be appraisal-contingent. And if the home appraisal valuation falls below the amount of a buyer's offer, the buyer may request a renegotiated price.

A home appraisal may prove to be an important part of the homebuying process. As such, it is paramount for homebuyers to understand what an appraisal is all about and determine whether to conduct an appraisal.

To better understand home appraisals, let's take a look at three home appraisal facts that every homebuyer needs to consider.

1. An appraiser's valuation is his or her opinion of what a residence is worth.

Typically, a home appraiser will use a broad assortment of housing market data as part of a home assessment. The appraiser also will look closely at a residence as part of the home evaluation process.

Although a home appraisal is based on housing market data and a home assessment, it is essential to note that a home valuation is an appraiser's opinion. Therefore, two home appraisers may examine the same housing market data and the same house and come up with two different home valuations.

2. The homes in a neighborhood may affect the valuation of a residence.

Believe it or not, a home's value may be impacted by those around it. Thus, if you intend to buy a home, it often pays to evaluate the neighborhood to better understand whether a house's value will decline, stay the same or increase over time.

Furthermore, what you spend to improve a house is unlikely to raise a house's value proportionately. And if you spend $20,000 on home improvements, there are no guarantees that these home improvements will add $20,000 to a home's valuation.

3. A home appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things.

A home inspection often is considered a must-have during the homebuying process, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

During a home inspection, a property expert will ensure there are no structural issues with a home and identify any problem areas. Then, a homebuyer can move forward with a home purchase, rescind a home offer or submit a counter proposal based on a home inspection report.

On the other hand, a home appraisal enables a property expert to evaluate the house in its current state. A home appraiser will compare and contrast a home in relation to others in the area and offer a valuation.

If you need help determining whether to conduct a home appraisal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. With a real estate agent at your side, you can determine whether to set up a home appraisal prior to finalizing a home purchase.




Tags: Buying a home   appraisal  
Categories: Uncategorized