Tag Archives: Open Listings

OpenListings.com featured blog: Is winter the best time of year to buy a house?

DHREA 20/12/2018
Is winter the best time of year to buy a house?

Even if you’ve never purchased a home before, you’ve probably heard the term “spring market.”

Traditionally, the warmer months were thought of as the only time to get into the real estate market, but that’s not always the case.

If you’re looking to buy a home without all the heat of a potential bidding war, here’s 3 main reasons why this winter just might be the best time to buy:

1. Sellers are more motivated

Calendars become packed around the holidays. Between social events and familial obligations, very few of us would want to add yet another thing to our already busy schedules — especially something as important as selling your home.

As a buyer, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

Sellers who are willing to market their home during the winter usually need to move right away.

These sellers are moving for a reason — a new job, a progressing relationship, or a family emergency — that’s so important they’re willing to inconvenience themselves during the busiest time of year.

It stands to reason that, if they’re willing to compromise their time, they’ll probably be willing to negotiate on price, too.

While your real estate agent is ultimately the best person to help you decide how to make an offer based on your current market, it’s something to think about.

If coming in under budget is your top priority, buying in the wintertime is probably your best bet.

2. The house’s true colors come out

Let’s be honest: everything looks better on a sunny summer day.

The reason why most agents encourage their clients to sell during spring & summer is because it’s literally the best possible light.

You’re seeing properties in their prime — the most natural light, neutral temperatures, and landscaping in full bloom.

In the winter, sellers don’t have that advantage.

Buyers will know if the heat isn’t working correctly. They’ll know if certain windows are drafty, and with less daylight, there’s more of a chance buyers will see a property after dark.

As the buyer, you should always go into showings with a discerning eye, but shopping around in the wintertime can help make potential deal breakers seem more apparent.

If you’re buying in a cold, rainy, or snowy spot, you’ll want to give extra consideration to some winter-specific details about the home.

How much shoveling, if any, will need to be done if there’s snow? Will you need to contract with someone to bring in oil? Is the house drafty or well-insulated and seale?

Make note of these factors so they can weigh into your decision making process.

3. There’s less competition

Since spring is the dominant time to buy, there might be another unforeseen advantage: less competition.

Many buyers take the “wait until spring” approach and get started with the masses.

Whether it’s kickstarting a New Year’s resolution or timing a house hunt around the kids’ school year, you can bet that the market will be its most crowded in springtime, which means you’ll be fighting over inventory with everyone else who had the same idea.

While inventory can be more limited in the winter, so can the number of potential buyers you’ll be competing against.

Sellers will be grateful to have someone willing to brave the ice, snow, or chill (if you live in that sort of climate) to come see the property.

And since there are fewer interested parties, there’s less of a chance you’ll have to deal with a high-stress multiple offer situation.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

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Want to buy a house with Bitcoin? Here’s what you need to know!

DHREA 05/12/2018

Want to buy a house with Bitcoin? Here's what you need to know.

 

With everyone going cryptocurrency crazy and the value of a single Bitcoin having skyrocketed as high as $19,000, there’s two things guaranteed when you work at a real estate startup:

  1. Your parents and non-tech savvy family members will ask you to explain what the hell it is over and over again
  2. Tech-savvy buyers who’ve mined their way to Bitcoin and other crypto riches will want to know if there is a way for them to buy a house using Bitcoin

For these questions, we say: “It’s like internet money, Mom.” and “Yes, it’s totally possible to buy a house with Bitcoin.”

How buying a house with Bitcoin works

If you’re serious about purchasing a house with Bitcoin, there are a few factors that come into play:

The seller has to be down
First, you have to find a seller who is willing to accept Bitcoin as payment for the house. You can use our search to look for the words “Bitcoin” or “Ethereum” or whatever your cryptocurrency of choice happens to be to find potential property matches.

Once you have an accepted offer, the title and escrow companies have to agree to handle the transaction
Even if you are able to find a seller that’s willing to accept your offer in Bitcoin, it can be tricky to find title insurance and escrow companies who feel comfortable handling virtual currency transactions. To take on your home purchase, they may require you to cash out your Bitcoin so that your transaction can be treated more like a traditional house purchase.

The future is here

Still have those Bitcoin homebuying dreams? Here are a few of our favorite properties for sale in California and Washington that’ll accept your cryptocurrency:

6023 W Beachwood Ln. Los Angeles, CA 90038
6023 W Beachwood Ln bitcoin house for sale

This Hollywood Hills new construction is smart home ready & highly walkable. Listing price is $1,190,000. If you buy it with Open Listings, you’ll get $11,900 back. View Listing

1338 Orchard Ave. Wenatchee, WA 98801
1338 Orchard Ave house for sale bitcoin

This charming & Wenatchee home could make a great investment for the right Bitcoin buyer with its big corner lot and full apartment above the garage. Listing price is $399,900. As of writing this, that’s about 25 Bitcoins. View Listing

1301 Duhig Rd Napa, CA 94559
Buy Napa California land for sale with Bitcoin

This may only be the bird’s eye view of this 10 acre plot in Napa County, but it’s ready and waiting for you with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a hot tub, and some of Napa Valley’s finest wineries as your neighbors. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Listing price is $2,900,000. Buy it with Open Listings, and get $36,250 back. View Listing

On the hunt to buy more homes with that Bitcoin? House hunt for free with Open Listings, find matches the moment they hit the market, and save thousands in unnecessary fees.

(This article originally appeared on OpenListings.)

 

 

 

Connect with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today, and be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s FREE monthly workshops!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
591 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

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Buying a starter home? Here’s what you need to know!

DHREA 28/11/2018

Many first-time homebuyers, especially in competitive markets, end up in starter homes as a part of their first foray into the real estate market.

The idea of a “starter home” goes back to World War II. After veterans completed their service, they returned home and took advantage of a provision in the G.I. Bill that guaranteed them affordable mortgages. The increased demand caused a housing boom, specifically for smaller, low-cost homes where the veterans could start their families.

Historically, these properties tend to be smaller in size than one might expect from a single-family unit, but the idea behind them is two-fold: these smaller properties help introduce individuals to the responsibilities of homeownership, while also serving as a launching pad– something to help a homeowner build equity before eventually moving on to a bigger and better property.

What to look for in a starter home

If you think you might be in the market for a starter property, here are some features you’ll want to keep in mind:

Affordability

Since this is your first time worrying about a mortgage payment, you might not be able to borrow as much, or you may not feel comfortable doing so. As the buyer, you’ll want to ask your lender to work up closing costs for you until you feel confident that you’ll be able to confidently make your payment each month.

Size

Starter homes tend to be much smaller than other homes on the market, both to keep costs down and upkeep manageable. As you look at homes, think seriously about how much space you truly need. Often, just one extra bedroom is more than enough room for first-time buyers.

Upkeep

Townhomes and condos are particularly popular options as first-time homes because they allow buyers to experience a lot of the positive aspects of homeownership without too much responsibility.

If you’re in the market for a living situation where much of the home maintenance is taken care of for you, a condo or townhome may be a good option. Just be sure to research the specific services that each community offers, as well as any associated fees.

Resale value / income potential

Since starter homes tend to be more of a stepping stone than a permanent solution, many first-time buyers go into to the purchase with a vague idea of what will happen once they outgrow this phase of their lives. Whether you’d rather sell the property or keep it and rent it out for passive income, the ability to attract future interest is key. For this reason, most starter homes are located in popular neighborhoods, with easy access to amenities like restaurants, bars, and public transportation options.

Should you buy a starter home?

While, ultimately, only you can decide whether or not now is the right time for you to join the real estate market, here are a few signs that you might just be ready to take the jump into first-time homebuying:

You’re financially stable

Even though starter home values are lower, you should still have a stable income, a handle on your debt and credit rating, and some amount of savings to put towards a downpayment. Additionally, you feel comfortable with the idea of being able to handle a monthly mortgage payment, as well as any unforeseen maintenance expenses that could crop up.

You’re settled (for now)

Even though your starter home probably won’t end up being your forever home, it’s still much more permanent than simply signing a year-long lease. Before you get your heart set on buying, you should double-check to make sure that you feel comfortable maintaining your life- your job, social circle, and surrounding area – as-is for the foreseeable future.

…But not too settled

These days, people are starting their path to homeownership later in life. If you’re in a place where you’re almost ready to start a family and you have a decent income, it may make more sense for you to keep saving and skip the starter home in favor of a larger property that will allow you and your family to grow as needed.

You’re willing to compromise

Too often, buyers are surprised to find that their starter home budget isn’t nearly enough to get everything on their wishlist.

Homeownership, especially in the first-time home bracket, is bound to come with a certain degree of compromise. Ideally, when you’re ready to make a purchase, you’ll be able to focus on foundational details like the home’s location and square footage rather than aesthetics. Those surface projects can often be changed to your tastes over time as you settle in.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

 

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Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
589 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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6 Mistakes to Avoid as a First-Time Home Buyer!

DHREA 21/11/2018

Buying a home for the first time is a big deal.

To help you get ahead, we’ve outlined some first-time homebuyer tips by calling out six of the biggest mistakes that you should avoid going into the purchase of your first home that could end up saving you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Mistake #1: not getting pre-approved

Many first-time buyers make the mistake of thinking that they don’t need to get approved for a mortgage until they’ve found their dream home.

Unfortunately, that often ends up being too late.

These days, most sellers require that pre-approvals be submitted along with any offer, and, since your finances need to be vetted before the lender will agree to grant you a loan, this process can take days or even weeks.

Instead, we recommend applying for a pre-approval before you even start looking at a available properties.

Doing so will give you extra time to work on your finances, if needed, and will ensure that you’re ready to submit an offer ASAP once you’ve found your perfect match.

2. Borrowing the maximum amount

Be careful with ending up "house poor"

Once you have your pre-approval in hand, it’s time to decide how much you can afford to spend.

Many buyers mistakenly believe that the figure they’re given on their pre-approval letter should serve as their target sale price. However, make sure that this move won’t leave you feeling “house poor.”

Instead, it’s better to think of loan amounts as a range. You have the ability to borrow up to the amount on your pre-approval, but you don’t necessarily have to go that far.

The better move is to do some budgeting of your own.

First, look at your income and expenses to determine how much money you’d feel comfortable putting towards a mortgage payment each month. Then, using that number, play around with a mortgage calculator until you land on a price of how much house you can really afford.

3. Overestimating your abilities

Sometimes buyers are willing to take on any number of repairs and remodeling projects in exchange for for a low sale price.

Unfortunately, though, what ends up happening in many of these scenarios is that they end up finding that these properties were steals for a reason.

Often, the repairs require more time, money, and skills than the buyers can afford.

If you’re looking at fixer upper properties that require a lot of TLC — especially foreclosures, short sales, or auctions — you need to be honest with yourself about your abilities.

Do you have any previous remodeling experience? Can you afford to hire professional help? Are you prepared to cope with unforeseen problems and expenses?

Though some of these things may be hard to admit, doing so can end up saving you a lot of frustration in the long run.

4. Skipping the fine print

Read your contract fine print

Yes, you should always read every contract you sign in full.

But, as anyone who’s ever sped through a “Terms & Conditions” agreement can tell you, that’s easier said than done.

While it might be tempting to simply skim your Agreement of Sale (and any addendums), resist the urge. This mistake could end up costing you.

Successful real estate transactions depend on each party fulfilling their respective contingencies by the deadlines specified in the agreement.

By signing, you’ve agreed to fulfill your end of the bargain. If you fail to meet those obligations, the seller may be entitled to take your deposit monies in reparations.

When you’re negotiating your offer, make sure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.

5. Bypassing your inspections

Conventional wisdom states that skipping your inspections will put you in a better bargaining position. While this is true, the reality is inspections are for the buyer’s benefit.

They give you a realistic picture of what’s wrong with the property, so that you can either choose to buy it with eyes-wide-open and negotiate on repairs or walk away and find a more suitable option.

In contrast, when you choose to waive your inspections, you’ve agreed to take financial responsibility for any repairs that may come up, even if the problems pre-date your ownership of the property. Weigh your options carefully before deciding whether or not this risk is worth it to you. In some cases, just shortening your inspection contingency might be enough to make your offer more competitive.

6. Forgetting about closing cost

Budgeting to buy a home isn’t just about figuring out how you’ll swing a downpayment and monthly mortgage amount.

There are also closing costs to consider.

Your closing costs will be paid at settlement. They will include any fees needed to facilitate the transaction such as deed-recording fees, title insurance, and appraisal costs.

The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on the specific services needed to close on your property. Realistically, however, you can expect to pay between 2%-5% of the home’s purchase price, and that needs to be factored into your overall cost of buying a place.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

 

 

Join nearly 600 other real estate professionals in Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com! Click below!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
589 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

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Think you’re ready to buy a house? Here’s 4 signs.

DHREA 02/11/2018

 

“Am I ready to buy a house, or should I just keep renting?”

It’s one of the questions that we hear most often and something to which first-time homebuyers often spend months, if not years, trying to figure out the answer.

Below are a list of four tell-tale signs that you’re ready to bite the bullet and take the leap into home ownership:

Sign #1: You’re ready to settle down

The first sign that you’re in the right mindset to become a homeowner is that you’re ready to stay put — at least for a little while.

Conventional wisdom states that in order for your purchase to make financial sense, you’ll want to plan on staying put for at least the next five years. When you sit down to think about house hunting, you’ll want to use that timeframe as your reference point.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you see yourself staying at your job for that long, or will you be looking for new opportunities?
  • If the right position came along, would you be willing to move for it?
  • Do you like the area you’re living in, or would you like to explore other options?
  • Do you see your living situation changing soon?
  • Are you planning on moving in with a significant other or expanding your family?

If these questions make you squirmy, the idea of looking five years into the future still feels a little too far ahead for you to grasp, or you still want to see where life life takes you, you may want to consider renting for a bit longer or thinking about a for-a-few-years home vs. a forever home.

2. You’re done living paycheck-to-paycheck

Let’s face it, becoming a homeowner is expensive.

Not only is there a monthly mortgage mortgage payment to consider, which will likely be more than your current rent check, but prospective homebuyers need to be prepared to come up with a sizable down payment, shoulder a portion of the closing costs, and have the dough to take care of any necessary repairs.

Luckily, there is a way that you can prepare for the added financial pressure before the big day comes and understand how much house you can afford. Use a mortgage calculator to estimate what a monthly payment could based on the type of home you’re looking to buy. Then, subtract the amount you pay in rent each month, and aim to put the the remainder into savings.

Start by working towards a down payment that could be worth 3%-10% of a home’s sale price, and then move onto a seperate emergency fund.

3. You’re ready for more responsibility

Once you find a home and actually buy it, that’s really where all the fun begins.

Yes, owning a home means that you have a lot more freedom to improve the property as you see fit — whether that means putting in an entirely new kitchen or redoing the hardwood floors.

However, in addition to that creative freedom comes an added layer of responsibility. As the homeowner, you’re the one who is responsible for any necessary maintenance and upkeep on the property.

Think about what you’re like as a tenant now.

Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and help with small tasks or are you relieved to know that you have someone to call? If you’re less handy, you may want to take some time to familiarize yourself with common home maintenance tasks before committing to buying anything. It always helps to have a fair idea of what you’re getting into.

4. You know what you’re looking for

Last but not least, though it may sound self-explanatory, when you’re trying to determine whether or not you’re ready to buy a home, it’s useful to have an idea of what you’re looking for.

You don’t have to have every single detail set in stone. (In fact, it’s preferable if you leave some room to flexibility in your home search.) That said, though, having a basic set of parameters in mind will make the homebuying process go much easier.

Here, you’ll want to think about the most important factors that you absolutely must have in a home. These will be the things that you would not feel comfortable buying a home without. This may include details like your preferred location, an ideal number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a target sale price, or any specific must-have features like that perfect picture window view.

If you have a strong idea of your must-haves and can’t see that changing in the near future, and the above signs sound like you, you may just be ready to take the plunge into home ownership. If not, there’s no shame in the game waiting.

 

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

 

 

Don’t miss the final Alex Deacon Real Estate Workshop of 2018!!! We’ve opened up the room for extra seating due to our growing attendance. Click below to connect with Alex on MeetUp.com, network with nearly 600 other Real Estate Professionals, and RSVP to the November workshop!

Virtual Bus Tour of Current and past rehabs

Saturday, Nov 10, 2018, 10:00 AM

Hampton Inn Bridgeville
150 Old Pond Rd Bridgeville, pa

28 Members Attending

We have done a few actual bus tours in the past but with the strong turnout I dont like to have to turn down folks due to the high volume of requests. Our next workshop in November we will do a virtual tour of some current and past projects and show you where to spend your money wisely and where you can and cant cut corners in order to stay profita…

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

 

 

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