Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley - CENTURY 21 Cobb Real Estate



Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 8/5/2018

With rent prices soaring in many areas of the U.S., renters are starting to consider whether now is the right time to start saving for a down payment on a home.

Depending on where you live and what your timeline is for buying a house, you might be wondering the same thing.

So, in todayís post, weíre going to talk about how to break down your rental costs to determine whether it makes more sense to buy a home rather than continue renting.

Add up your rental costs

There are any number of costs associated with renting depending on your lease agreement. Some renters are required to pay their own heating and utilities, while others have several bonuses thrown into the cost of their rent, such as internet, gym memberships and more.

So, take a minute to write down each of your rental expenses. To get you started, hereís a list of some of the most common costs for renters:

  • Monthly rent

  • Electric bills

  • Heating bills

  • Trash removal

  • Renterís insurance

  • Parking fees

Now that you know how much you put toward renting each month, itís time to take a look at what it could cost you to own a home.

Homeowner expenses

The key thing to remember about buying a home is that your costs can vary widely based on the size of your home, where itís located, and a number of other factors. However, you can often find area averages online.

If youíre considering a starter home (which you should!), then youíll want to look at houses in your area that are on the lower end of the market.

To get an idea of what your mortgage payments and monthly interest will be, you can use a free tool like Bankrate.

Now, letís make a list of your homeowner expenses:

  • Mortgage payment

  • Home insurance

  • Trash removal

  • Utilities

  • Heating and AC costs (plan for higher costs than renting due to more space)

  • Electricity

  • Property taxes (divided by 12)

  • Mortgage insurance (if you donít have a 20% down payment saved)

Cost-benefit analysis of owning a home vs renting

Now that you know the general costs, youíre getting close to knowing whether it would be cheaper or more expensive to buy a home than rent.

However, that isnít the full picture. When you own a home, youíre responsible for maintenance and upkeep. That means you should budget around $250 per month toward maintenance. Even if you donít use that amount each month, thereís a good chance youíll have to make a repair or upgrade, or even hire a professional to come and fix something on your home.

The final piece of the picture involves home equity. When you own a home, most of the money you pay each month to your lender will come back to you in the form of equity. As a renter, your money goes to your landlord and will never be seen or heard from again.

So, if youíve added up your lists, accounted for maintenance costs, and still have enough left over to live comfortably each month by buying a home, you can most likely bet on buying as being a better option.

If not, it might pay off to rent for another year or two while you save up for a down payment so you can get the lowest interest rate and avoid PMI.





Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 7/22/2018

Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.

What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.

1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos

The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.

Don't be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you'd like to find in the ideal condo.

Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Determine How You'll Pay for a Condo

Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.

Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.

In many instances, condo communities have homeowners' associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you'll know exactly what you'll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.

A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.

For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won't have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.

Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.

Simplify the process of buying your first condo Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.




Tags: buying a home   buyer tips   condo  
Categories: Buying a Home   Condo   buying tips  


Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 7/8/2018

Once you have bought a new house, you may feel lost as to where to start. Thereís a long checklist of things that you should do to get yourself established in a new space. Here, you'll find a plan on what to do next. 


Get Recommendations On Local People You Can Work With 


Your realtor is a good place to start in asking who they recommend for many types of workers including plumbers, electricians, contractors, and more. You may even want to talk to your next door neighbors and see who they have used in the past for these types of handy work jobs. Even if you donít need any kind of work done immediately, itís a good idea to have some names and numbers on hand for future reference.


Donít Paint Right Away


Although it seems much more practical to paint an empty house, once you live in your new home for awhile, youíll get a sense of where the light hits and what colors will complement your furniture. When you pick colors in a rush, you run the risk of choosing shades that you may not love in the long term. Focus on properly lighting your rooms before you even start to paint.


Donít Forget The Housewarming Party!


If you plan a housewarming party for a date thatís not too far after you move in, it will give you motivation to get things done in the house. The housewarming party is your accountability partner to get you to unpack those boxes and get decorating. Try to plan the party somewhere between one and two months after your planned move-in date. This will give you time to get things done, just not too much time!  


Meet The Neighbors


You should take some time very soon after you move in to meet your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for you as to what happens in your new neighborhood. Find out if any of your new neighbors have dogs that your own dog could meet for a friendly walk. Your new friends will even give you information about a neighborhood watch or important community activities as well.


Safety First


Youíll want to check all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm systems. Be sure that they work. Then, change the batteries in each system to start fresh. You should also equip your house with a fire extinguisher or two. You can never be too prepared for an emergency. 


Next, you should check all of the door and window locks. Replace anything that used a key. You never know who had keys to the home before it was sold.

When you start small in a new home, things will begin to come together slowly but surely just like puzzle pieces.





Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 6/17/2018

Purchasing a home can be stressful, and the homebuying process might even cause your blood pressure to rise if you're not careful. Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to minimize stress and stay calm during the homebuying process, including: 1. Don't Be Afraid to Take a Step Back and Relax. The real estate market remains an ongoing battle between homebuyers. Plus, after you find a house you like, you may encounter problems with a home seller as you try to finalize a purchase agreement. But remember, as you move along the homebuyer journey, don't be afraid to take a step back and relax. Buying a home represents a life-changing event, one that should not be taken lightly. However, homebuyers who try to rush through the homebuying process may watch their stress levels rise quickly Ė the last thing any homebuyer wants to encounter. If you feel stressed at any point during the homebuying process, be sure to take a deep breath and focus on the big picture. By doing so, you'll be able to improve your chances of remaining cool under pressure and simplify your journey from homebuyer to homeowner. 2. Stay Organized. As a homebuyer, you may be required to make phone calls and emails as you move along the homebuying journey. And in some cases, problems could arise if you don't document your conversations properly. But a homebuyer who devotes the necessary time and resources to stay organized should have no trouble tracking phone calls and emails that are sent to a home inspector, lender or other professionals who may be involved in the homebuying process. Jotting down notes on phone calls usually is a great idea for homebuyers, as this allows you to keep track of your conversations. And if you send emails, you already have a surefire way to monitor any messages you send or receive, too. 3. Hire a Courteous, Diligent Real Estate Agent. Let's face it Ė it often is easy to become emotional during the homebuying process. On the other hand, if you have a courteous, diligent real estate agent at your side, you'll be better equipped to overcome any hurdles that you may encounter during this process. Your real estate agent will offer information about upcoming open houses and set up home showings, enabling you to check out many homes that fit your needs. Also, this professional ultimately will serve as a liaison between you and a home seller and can help you stay calm, cool and collected during negotiations. Furthermore, your real estate agent will keep you up to date as you progress through the homebuying journey. As a result, this professional is exceedingly important and can help streamline the process of buying a home. The homebuying process can become time-consuming and complicated, and as such, cause stress. Conversely, if you use the aforementioned tips, you should be able to simplify the process of finding a home that suits your perfectly and buy this residence without delay.





Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 6/3/2018

If you want to acquire the best house at the lowest price, it pays to conduct an in-depth home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should perform a comprehensive house search, and these include:

1. You can define your dream house.

For those who enter the housing market without a clear-cut definition of a "dream home," there is no need to worry. If you perform an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate home must-haves from wants.

Ultimately, the definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. As you map out your homebuying journey, it helps to put together a list of house must-haves and wants so you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Once you determine what you want to find in your dream house, you can assess the housing market and search for your ideal home. Then, when you locate your ideal residence, you should have no trouble submitting a competitive offer and moving one step closer to buying your dream house.

2. You can avoid the dangers associated with paying too much for a home.

Oftentimes, it is easy to attend a home showing and submit an offer on a home. But if you do so without performing housing market research, you risk overspending to purchase your ideal residence.

When it comes to determining the best price for a house, it helps to look closely at real estate market data. This information can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market, analyze the prices of houses in your city and town and much more. Perhaps most important, reviewing housing market data may enable you to avoid the temptation to spend too much to acquire your dream home.

3. You can reduce the risk of purchasing a home that fails to meet your expectations.

An in-depth home search reduces the risk that you'll be forced to "settle" for a home that fails to meet your expectations. Instead, you can allocate plenty of time and resources to search far and wide for your ideal residence. And if you find your dream home, you can rest assured that you'll be able to purchase this residence and enjoy it for years to come.

Clearly, there is a lot to think about if you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Next, this housing market professional will keep you informed about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. A real estate agent will even help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can get the best price on any residence, at any time.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house Ė consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to make your homeownership dream come true.