Sally Malsch, CRS, GRI, ABR, SRES, ePRO
Five College REALTORS ® | 413-519-4465 |

Posted by Sally Malsch on 2/28/2018

When you’re gearing up to make the largest purchase of your entire life, you have a lot to think about. There’s also a lot of emotion involved in the entire process. You don’t want those emotions to get in the way, causing you unnecessary regret in your purchase. A home is not like a sweater that you can head to the store and return. What do current homeowners wish that they did differently in their home purchase? Below, you’ll find some of the most common regrets of homeowners. If you know what to look out for, you can avoid the same kind of buyer’s remorse in your own home purchase. 

Not Doing Research First

In hot markets, it can be hard to find the time to do the research and secure the home you want. Before you even begin searching one thing you should have a handle on is location. You probably have a general idea of where you’d like to live. You can research these neighborhoods ahead of time in order to understand the makeup of the area. You should take a look at everything form schools to safety to the amenities close to the location of choice. Do this for a few different areas so that you’re completely prepared before you even head out on the house hunt. Even if you end up in an area you never pictured, if you have a general idea of the spots you’re looking at, it will be much easier to tell what a neighborhood will be like to live in ahead of time. The best advice is not to pin yourself down to searching in one area. 

Not Knowing Anything About The House

If you failed to pay attention during the home inspection, didn’t ask a lot of questions, or were just blind to some of the issues that were apparent in the home you bought, you could be in for quite a surprise. Understanding the problems a home has is one thing but knowing how much those repairs are going to cost is another. If you are trying to beat the competition by skipping the home inspection or waiving contingencies, you may end up being pretty unhappy in your new home with an empty wallet. Some repairs cost more than you know and it’s important to be aware of what needs to be done in the home before you sign on the dotted line.   

Missing Out On A Big Downpayment

Sometimes that little extra bit of savings can really help. Even though many first time homeowners are simply eager to get into a home, waiting a bit and saving more for a downpayment can significantly lower the longterm costs of homeownership. This includes things like fees, interest rates, and PMI (private mortgage insurance). Also, having a larger downpayment can help you to get a house that you really want when the market is highly competitive. You’ll appear more reliable to sellers. Remember that the higher your downpayment, the lower your monthly payment will be.     


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Posted by Sally Malsch on 1/24/2018

Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.

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Posted by Sally Malsch on 1/3/2018

Confidence can play a major role in the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer is confident in his or her ability to evaluate a house, this individual may be better equipped than others to complete a successful home purchase. Conversely, a homebuyer who lacks confidence may struggle to identify his or her ideal residence, resulting in a long, arduous homebuying journey.

Becoming a confident homebuyer may be easier than you think. In fact, there are several key attributes of successful homebuyers, and these traits include:

1. Resourceful

A confident homebuyer makes the most of the time and resources at his or her disposal. By doing so, this buyer can identify housing market patterns and trends and map out a successful homebuying journey.

Typically, a confident homebuyer performs deep real estate market data analysis. By obtaining comprehensive housing market insights, this buyer can take an informed approach to purchasing a residence.

2. Conscientious

A confident homebuyer is willing to do what it takes to acquire a home. As such, he or she will take a conscientious approach to the homebuying journey, as well as ensures that both a buyer and seller can achieve the optimal results.

For example, a confident homebuyer may be willing to negotiate with a seller to determine a price that works for both sides. This buyer also may make sacrifices along the way to guarantee a home sale is a seamless transaction for all parties involved.

3. Persistent

A confident homebuyer has a no-quit attitude and will go above and beyond the call of duty to purchase a terrific house at a price that fits within his or her budget. Therefore, this buyer displays persistence throughout the homebuying journey.

With a persistent attitude, a homebuyer can boost the likelihood of discovering his or her dream house. This buyer will keep track of new houses in cities and towns where he or she would like to live. And if the right home becomes available, this buyer won't hesitate to submit a competitive offer on it, either.

When it comes to buying a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with plenty of confidence. If you consult with a real estate agent, you can build your homebuying confidence in no time at all.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with a homebuyer and learn about this individual's goals. A real estate agent then will help a buyer plan for the homebuying cycle, ensuring he or she is fully supported at each stage of this process.

A real estate agent also is an expert resource to a homebuyer. And if a homebuyer has any questions throughout the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide responses.

For those who are ready to pursue their dream home, it helps to become a confident homebuyer. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can enter the real estate market with the confidence that you need to thrive.

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Posted by Sally Malsch on 12/27/2017

If you're ready to pursue your dream house, it generally is a good idea to enter the real estate sector with an open mind. In fact, there are many benefits to keeping your options open as you search for your ideal residence, and these benefits include:

1. You may be able to discover a bargain.

As you kick off your home search, it helps to pursue houses in a wide range of cities and towns. Doing so can help you separate your dream home must-haves from your wants. Also, this may enable you to find an affordable residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

There is no telling whether a real estate market will favor buyers or sellers. The housing sector fluctuates constantly, and a buyer's market today may morph into a seller's market tomorrow.

Luckily, if you maintain an open approach to buying a house, you can remain patient as you search for your perfect residence. Perhaps most important, you can capitalize on homebuying opportunities as they become available and avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.

2. You can move quickly to acquire your dream residence.

With an open approach to the homebuying journey, you should have no trouble moving quickly to acquire your ideal residence. If the opportunity presents itself to buy a great house at a terrific price, you can submit an offer and proceed accordingly.

Of course, you should always think ahead before you submit an offer on any house, at any time. If you put together a competitive offer on a residence, you may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller. Then, you can seamlessly finalize your home purchase and move into your dream residence.

3. You can minimize stress throughout the homebuying journey.

Buying a home is a major decision, and as such, stress can be problematic throughout the homebuying journey. If you are open to new ideas as you pursue a home, however, you may be better equipped than ever before to purchase your perfect residence.

Remember, stress may force a homebuyer to make rash decisions – something that a homebuyer probably wants to avoid at all costs. But if you're willing to take a deep breath and step back from the homebuying cycle at times, you can look at the big picture. And as a result, you can remain calm, cool and collected as you consider all of your homebuying options.

For those who are looking for extra help in their pursuit of the perfect home, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can share details about a broad array of houses in cities and towns where you want to live. Plus, a real estate agent can keep you informed about new residences as they become available, help you submit offers on houses and much more.

Make your homeownership dream come true – take an open approach to the homebuying journey, and you may be able to accomplish your homebuying goal faster than ever before.

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Posted by Sally Malsch on 9/20/2017

Launching a search for your next home can be a daunting prospect -- especially if you're a first-time home buyer. It's not only a life-changing decision that will have "ripple effects" for years to come, but it's also one of the largest financial commitments you'll every make. So there is a little "pressure" associated with this choice!

The good news is that once you're approved for a mortgage and you know what you want (and can afford) in your next home, then the actual searching part should be a "piece of cake!" Well, as you can imagine, things can and sometimes DO go wrong along the way, but there are effective strategies for simplifying the process and increasing the probability that you'll be delighted with the house you finally close on.

Identify Your Priorities

Knowing what your priorities are and being familiar with all the different features you'll need to evaluate are the first steps to a successful house-hunting campaign. Your real estate agent can be enormously helpful in asking you the right questions, pinpointing your preferences, and guiding you toward the house that will offer the best combination of features, qualities, and characteristics.

Rarely will you find the property that is absolutely perfect in every imaginable way, but when you're clear about the important things you're not willing to compromise on, your final choice is bound to be one that fulfills your requirements and makes you happy! Also keep in mind that once you're the owner, you can customize, decorate, and landscape that home to become whatever you want it to be. Perhaps the only two things that are set in stone are the location and the proximity of the house to neighbors.

I don't know whether this saying has been attributed to any particular person, but it contains a lot of truth about achieving goals, attaining happiness, and finding the home of your dreams: "If you don't know exactly what you want, it's highly unlikely you're going to find it!" That holds true whether you're looking for the ideal job, home, or life partner.

So the question is "How can you zero in on what you need, want, and would find the most satisfying in a house?" Your real estate agent can help you create a priority list or provide you with a boilerplate list that you can work from. If you haven't chosen an agent yet, there is a free home-buying checklist available from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

There are literally dozens of items you'll factor into your home-buying decision, including the square footage, the quality of the neighborhood, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the condition of the roof, electrical, and mechanical systems, the size of the backyard, proximity to neighbors, and whether it's conveniently located near supermarkets, medical offices, parks, recreation, good schools, transportation, highways, entertainment, shopping, and much more. The bottom line is this: When you're organized, focused, and clear about what you're looking for in a new home, you're well positioned for a successful outcome!

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