Bo Lee - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth

Posted by Bo Lee on 1/28/2018

When it comes time to attend a home showing, it helps to be prepared. That way, you can check out a house from top to bottom and confirm that this house fits your needs.

Ultimately, there are several important steps that a homebuyer should take before attending a home showing, and these are:

1. Review the Home Listing

Reading a home listing often serves as a first opportunity to evaluate a house and determine whether it could be your dream residence. As such, you'll want to review the listing closely to verify your interest in a house.

Oftentimes, reading a home listing a few times is a good idea. This will enable you to analyze all aspects of the listing and ensure it is worth your time to visit a house in-person.

2. Create a Home Showing Checklist

Although a home listing likely provides lots of information about a house, there may be plenty of unanswered questions that you have about a residence. Fortunately, a home showing gives you the opportunity to ask questions and receive insights into a house that you won't be able to receive elsewhere. And if you craft a home showing checklist in advance, you'll be ready to get the information that you need to fully assess a residence.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, particularly when it comes to evaluating a house. If you make a list of questions before a home showing, you'll be able to receive responses that can help you make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer on a house.

Don't forget to include different areas of a home in your home showing checklist, either. In most cases, you'll want to evaluate a house's roof, attic and other areas to determine whether costly, time-intensive repairs may be needed in the near future.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Preparing for a home showing may prove to be difficult, particularly for a buyer who is attending a showing for the first time. If you consult with a real estate agent, however, you can get the help that you need to prepare for any home showing, at any time.

A real estate agent is a homebuying professional who understands the ins and outs of evaluating a residence. He or she can provide expert home showing preparation recommendations and serve as a guide throughout the showing itself.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to help you at each stage of the homebuying journey. If you have questions before or after a home showing, a real estate agent is ready to answer them. And if you want to submit an offer following a showing, this housing market professional can help you submit a competitive proposal at your convenience.

Don't wait to kick off your search for the perfect home. Instead, follow the aforementioned steps, and you can prepare for a home showing and move closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips   showing  

Posted by Bo Lee on 12/3/2017

When you’re buying a home, there’s a lot to think about. Your finances probably have the biggest impact in the entire home search process. The amount of a down payment you have and the amount of loan you’re approved for help decide what you can buy. 

When you hear about closing costs, what do they entail? How much will you need to cover these costs? Many people get to the closing table for their home purchase and feel unprepared. You’ll need a certain amount of cash on hand when you finally close on a home. Learn more about closing costs, so that you understand everything that you need to know about your home purchase.    

Closing costs are spelled out pretty plainly in just about every kind of real estate contract. These costs are the fees associated with the title companies, attorney, banks, lenders and everyone else who is involved in the purchase of a home. The closing table is also the time when you provide your sizable down payment. The closing costs that are being referred to are considered a separate expense independent of the closing costs.

Closing Costs Vary

Closing costs can range from anywhere between 2 and 8 percent of the purchase price of the home. You can’t really “choose” what’s included in the closing, so you’ll need to have an idea of how much money you’ll need to write a check for. Lenders can give you an estimate of about how much closing costs will be. 


Certain things like the realtor’s commission fees can be negotiated and can be paid for by the buyer or the seller. The good news is that you can roll your closing fees in with your mortgage in some cases. You may also be able to negotiate with your lender to pay the closing costs for you in exchange for a higher interest rate. 

What’s Included In Closing Costs?

Depending upon where and what type of home you’re buying, what the closing costs actually cover varies. Here’s just some of the things that closing costs cover:

  • Appraisal
  • Escrow fees
  • Credit reports
  • Title search
  • Title exam fee
  • Survey fee
  • Courier fee (Most transactions are done electronically, but in some cases this may be necessary)
  • Title insurance
  • Owner’s title insurance
  • Natural hazards disclosure
  • Homeowner’s insurance (Your first year of insurance is often paid at closing)
  • Buyer’s attorney fee
  • Lender’s attorney fee
  • Transfer taxes
  • Recording fees
  • Processing fees
  • Underwriting fee
  • Pre-paid interest
  • Pest inspections
  • Homeowner's association transfer fees
  • Special assessments

These fees vary widely by state and the type of property that you’re purchasing. Not every fee is required, but the above is just a list of many of the possible fees that could be included in on the closing of the home you choose.

Posted by Bo Lee on 11/12/2017

What should you expect after you make an offer on a residence? There are several steps that will take place between the time you submit an offer on a house to the date you finalize a purchase agreement, including:

1. Acceptance or Rejection of Your Initial Proposal

A home seller will have a short period of time to accept or reject your initial offer.

If a home seller accepts your proposal, you'll be able to move forward in the homebuying process. Conversely, if he or she rejects your offer, you may be forced to restart your home search.

On the other hand, a home seller may counter your offer as well. In this scenario, you likely will be given a set amount of time to accept or reject the counter-proposal. Or, you may be able to further negotiate with a home seller in the hopes of finding common ground.

The time between when you submit an offer on a home and receive a home seller's response to your proposal can be stressful. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures that you'll be able to stay up to date. This real estate professional will even help you put together a competitive offer on any home, ensuring that you can boost your chances of getting an instant "Yes" from a home seller.

2. Completion of a Home Inspection

Although a home seller has accepted your initial proposal, you'll still want to conduct a thorough home inspection to identify any major property issues.

For example, if a house has a faulty roof or defective hot water heater, an expert home inspector will be able to uncover such problems immediately. That way, you can learn about issues that may impact the long-term value of a home as part of an inspection.

If you find out about major issues with a home during a property inspection, you can rescind your initial offer and walk away from a house. Comparatively, if you still want to buy a home in spite of problems that were discover during an inspection, you can ask the home seller to complete home repairs or upgrades. You also may want to consider asking for a price reduction if major home repairs or upgrades are needed.

Ultimately, a home inspection will help you make an informed homebuying decision. After a home inspection, the ball is in your court, and you can choose to move forward with the purchase of a home, revise your initial offer or remove your proposal altogether.

3. Relocation to Your New Address

The final step of the home selling process involves closing on a home and relocating to your new address. At this point, all you'll need to do is pack up your belongings from your current location and move them to your new home.

Purchasing a home may seem impossible at times, but the homebuying process often gets easier as it progresses. Plus, homebuyers who collaborate with an experienced real estate agent can receive plenty of support as they navigate each stage of the homebuying journey.

Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  

Posted by Bo Lee on 9/24/2017

Your thirties are a time of many important financial decisions. Many people are starting families, buying homes, and getting settled into their careers by the time they turn thirty. The following ten years are often marked by salary increases, moving into larger homes, and saving for retirement.

It’s vital to have a solid grasp on personal finance in your thirties, as it is in many ways the foundation of your finances for the decades to come. So, in this article we’re going to give you some advice on buying a home and managing your money in your thirties.

Straighten out your credit

If your twenties were a volatile time of incurring debts from student loans, car loans, and other expenses, then it’s paramount to get your credit in order in your early thirties. Having a high credit score can secure you lower interest rates on a home loan or let you refinance your loans at lower rates.

Start by making sure your bills are on auto-pay, and be sure to settle any older debts from your younger years. You can also use a credit card for recurring expenses, such as gas to get to work or groceries, and then pay them off in full each month. This way, you’ll build credit and avoid accruing  interest at the same time.

Reevaluate your lifestyle and long term goals

A lot can change from the time you turn 25 to the time you turn 35. Your goals might shift from finding a home near the ocean to finding a home near a good school district for your children. You might also have the shocking realization that your children will be heading to college sooner than it might seem, and that you’re still working on paying off your own student debt.

Consider things like the size house you’ll need for your family, where you want to live and whether that involves being close to aging parents, and reallocating money depending on your retirement goals.

Rethink your insurance coverage

Gone are the days when all you needed was a car insurance policy to get by. As you age and your responsibilities grow, you’ll need to think about the future for you and your family. That may include a more comprehensive health insurance plan for your family, a life insurance policy for yourself, or increased covered for home and auto insurance.

Automate the headaches away

With all of these growing responsibilities, it can be easy to get frustrated with the time you’re losing to keeping your finance in order. Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal in the internet age that will make all of those responsibilities an afterthought.

First, get a budget planning app, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). Next, set up your bills to auto-pay if you haven’t yet. Then, put reminders in your phone to periodically check your credit score and reassess whether you need to pay for certain monthly services (do you still watch Hulu?). Finally, if you haven’t yet, make sure you have your paychecks direct deposited into the accounts you’d like them to enter so you don’t have to worry about them.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Bo Lee on 9/3/2017

When you narrow the numbers of houses that you're serious about buying, weather is probably the last thing that you think about. But, depending on where you buy a house, you could be inviting very hard weather conditions into your life. And you don't have to move to a coastal area to experience harsh weather.

Storms do more than damage your house

You don't have to live in Florida or along the New Jersey shore for serious weather storms like hurricanes and flooding to change the way that you and your family live. If you've ever had to vacate your house due to the threat of a weather storm, you know how quickly a storm can alter your best laid out plans.

Let the frequency of storms be high, occurring once a quarter or more, and you could be forced to store protective plywood, plastic window coverings, salt and shovels in your basement or garage. It might not take long to get into a cycle of covering windows and doors only to remove plastic and wood coverings a few days later.

This cycle alters your plans. It can also cause you to fear high winds and hard rains. For example, you could start to fear that a dark sky signals that a storm is going to rip through your house even if weather forecasters say that the area will experience no more than a heavy rain.

Understand what you get into when you buy a house in a stormy area

Some people have developed weather fears to the point where they order everyone in their house to turn off all electric appliances as soon as the sky grows dark during the daytime. These people may have experienced an electrical shock during a weather storm and convinced themselves that someone will always get electrocuted during a storm if appliances are left on.

Those are just a few fears that you could develop if you buy a house in an area that has a lot of damaging weather storms. As previously mentioned, there are also costs, including storm preparation and storm clean up and repair costs, associated with living in a house that's located in a high storm area.

Avoiding these costs and clean up headaches can be as simple as holding a conversation with your realtor. Make sure that you know which type of homeowner's insurance coverage you should get for the area that you buy a house in.

Homeowners insurance to deal with severe weather storms

Theft, fire and tornado damage might be included in general insurance packages. However, you may have to request coverage for earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, mudslides and hail damage. After you get the necessary homeowner's insurance coverage, you need to know how to travel in storms.

For example, you should know that it's not advisable to drive onto flooded streets, as even a slight dip in the road could cause water to rise,  potentially trapping you in your vehicle. The fact that bridges freeze before flat roadways is another important point to remember.

Understand all costs that you could incur if you buy a house in an area that experiences tornadoes, earthquakes and excessive rain and flooding. Also, familiarize yourself with the amount of work that you will have to do to remove weather elements like snow and ice, excessive mud from mud slides and hail.

Allergies are another weather storm related condition that you need to educate yourself about. Buy a house in a heavily wooded area and your allergies could cause you to feel groggy, tired and listless for days. The same goes for houses located in areas where weather invites insects like mosquitoes and fruit flies.