Are You a Retiree? Why You Should Consider Buying Instead of Renting

Despite the numerous benefits of owning a home, the rental market continues to expand in one key market—seniors! Since 2005, people in their 50s and 60s have accounted for the biggest single section of the rental market increase. However, seniors choosing to rent instead of buy are missing out on a whole host of rewards that go alongside homeownership.

Easier to Budget

Living off of a limited retirement income can be tricky in a rental market. You will always be at the mercy of your landlord or property management company, which means that rent could rapidly escalate over the years. When you own a home, you don’t need to worry about your rent going up. While property taxes and maintenance costs might fluctuate, you will never need to worry about your housing payments increasing throughout your retirement. What’s even better? 70% of homeowners who are 65 and over enter retirement mortgage-free, which means you might not even have a payment to make if you continue to live in the same home.

A Home Is an Asset

When you own a home, you have something of value that you can pass onto your heirs in the future. Even if you are forced to dip into your savings during retirement, you can always leave your home behind to beneficiaries. Many seniors choose to keep their homes partially to give the gift of a significant asset to their children.

Home Equity Is a Potential Source of Income

As you age, homeownership becomes a powerful source of potential retirement income and financial security. Tapping into your accumulated home equity is a possibility once you reach retirement. There are numerous strategies you can use to tap into your home equity, including carrying a mortgage into retirement, renting the home or taking a reverse mortgage.

Tax Benefits

Home ownership comes with a number of tax benefits. If you choose to itemize, you can typically deduct mortgage interest and property taxes. You don’t get the same tax breaks when you choose to rent! Working with an accountant can help you to determine whether or not the tax benefits of your homeownership are worth it.

Partner with the Okeke Team

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to sell your home, the Okeke Team of Tristar Realty, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in turning your home dreams into reality. To get the buying or selling process started, or just to learn more about what your property might be worth, contact us today by calling (443) 825-0023.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Resale

Get Your House Ready for Market with the Okeke Team

As we prepare for a busy spring housing market, it’s important to remember that buyers can be very selective. That’s why properly preparing your home for resale is so important. When buyers are looking for the best possible home for their needs, something out of place could cost you a sale. Here are some of the best ways to get your home ready for showtime.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Resale

  1. Start outside of your home and take a look at your landscaping. Curb appeal forms the basis of the first impression every visitor gets of your home, so make sure that your lawn is trimmed and looking great. Remove any weeds from your garden and consider planting some seasonal pops of color around your mailbox and front door to brighten things up.
  2. Clean the outside of your house. If the exterior looks unkempt and messy, buyers will assume that you didn’t take care of the outside or inside of your home. Gutters should be cleaned, and all siding should be pressure-washed.
  3. Are there any repairs you’ve been putting off? Now is the time to tackle them! While the market isn’t completely a buyer’s market right now, you still want to make sure that your home is in the best condition possible.
  4. Remove any clutter from the inside of your home and depersonalize your living space. You want any buyer coming into your home to imagine themselves living there, not be focused on pictures of the family currently living there. If you have a lot of things that you need to move out of your home, consider renting a storage unit for a few months to fill with your personal items, knickknacks and photos.
  5. Make your front door an eye-catching invitation into your home. Give it a fresh coat of paint and find a wreath that flatters your doorway. If your house numbers are faded, now is the time to refresh them so that they are easy to spot from the street. You can also purchase a new welcome mat to invite buyers into your space.
  6. Organize your closets and drawers. It’s unrealistic to think that you will move everything out of your home while it’s on the market, but that means that you need to take care when displaying what you are leaving behind. Messy closets make it look like your home has insufficient storage space, which you don’t want browsers to think.
  7. Think carefully about the colors in your home. While your dark purple bedroom or lime green bathroom might reflect your personality, chances are a potential buyer will not feel the same. Choosing to repaint your walls a neutral, safe color will prevent buyers from being distracted by paint when looking through your property.   

Partner with the Okeke Team

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to sell your home, the Okeke Team of Tristar Realty, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in turning your home dreams into reality. To get the buying or selling process started, or just to learn more about what your property might be worth, contact us today by calling (443) 825-0023.

3 Surprising Facts About Home Inspections

Home inspections are one of the final parts of the home buying process, but they can completely change the course of the purchase depending on what the inspector discovers. When you hire a professional to assess the home you are considering purchasing, you should be prepared to encounter some surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant) along the way!

You Can Attend the Inspection

Some home buyers don’t realize that they can attend their home inspection. In fact, missing a home inspection can pose huge problems for the buyer in the future. Attending a home inspection is not just in your best interest as a buyer but should be considered a must-do part of the homebuying process. You will get a chance to answer questions and hear the inspector’s opinion in real time, sometimes exposing concerns with the home that you may not have been able to see with your realtor. Since you are already going to be paying for the expertise of the home inspector, it’s well worth it to show up and shadow them during the inspection. It won’t cost any extra, and you will probably get more detail than you would if you relied solely on their written notes.

You Can Use the Inspection to Negotiate with the Seller

Some repairs are minor, but others will require a significant investment to make. You should always bring the home inspection report to the table to discuss with the seller and your real estate agent. Even small repairs are worth bringing up, as they can get you money off the purchase price or the seller can complete them before turning the keys over to you. In some cases, the things discovered during the home inspection process also might make you want to back out of the purchase altogether. Make sure that you include a home inspection contingency in your offer to prevent being on the hook for buying a home in need of thousands of dollars’ worth of work.

Home Appraisals and Home Inspections Are Different

Some people mistakenly assume that an appraisal will be just as thorough as an inspection. In reality, both are designed to serve two separate purposes. In one survey, 20% of homeowners who had only an appraisal thought that that included an inspection. Remember that an appraisal is designed to spot problems and come up with a home value, but an inspection is designed to go in-depth, find problems and suggest solutions.

Partner with the Okeke Team

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to sell your home, the Okeke Team of Tristar Realty, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in turning your home dreams into reality. To get the buying or selling process started, or just to learn more about what your property might be worth, contact us today by calling (443) 825-0023.

4 Myths About First-Time Home Buying

You’re ready to make the transition from renting to buying, but who should you believe when it comes to buying a home? With so many myths about first-time home buying swirling around, some prospective home buyers wait years to take the plunge out of fear. What are the truths behind the most common first-time home buying myths?

Myth: Start By Looking for a House

If you are considering purchasing a home, you should always start by determining what your budget is. Many first-time buyers browse the market first, get their hearts set on a home that they think is in their price range and then realize that they can afford much less than they initially realized. Your first step should always be examining what type of financing you are qualified for and taking steps to repair your credit if necessary.

Myth: You Need a 20% Down Payment

A 20% down payment is excellent, especially if you don’t want to need to purchase private mortgage insurance. However, many lenders will offer you a home loan with as little as 3%, 3.5%, 5% or 10% down, providing that you are willing to pay a monthly fee for PMI. There are also many different options for down payment assistance. Work with the professionals at the Okeke Team to learn more about what you’re qualified for.

Myth: The Asking Price Is Carved in Stone

Just like the price on the car in the lot at the dealership isn’t necessarily the price you will end up paying, the asking price for many homes isn’t carved in stone. If you have good credit, mortgage pre-approval and a down payment, many sellers are happy to negotiate instead of waiting for another buyer or a less-qualified buyer to appear. A home inspection that identifies issues with the property can also help to lower the asking price.

Myth: You Can DIY Home Buying

In the age of the internet, where everything seems like it’s only a Google search away, some first-time buyers are tempted to try the home buying process without the help of a real estate agent. However, the expertise that real estate agents have is invaluable. The Okeke Team brings negotiation skills, excellent searching power and plenty of knowledge to the table. We can walk you through every step of the purchasing process with ease, and we have access to homes that are not yet on the market and in-depth knowledge of your financing options.

Partner with the Okeke Team

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to sell your home, the Okeke Team of Tristar Realty, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in turning your home dreams into reality. To get the buying or selling process started, or just to learn more about what your property might be worth, contact us today by calling (443) 825-0023.